How to talk about money in your relationship


couple talking about money in their relationship


Want to know the top 3 issues couples fight about or even break up over?

Sex…

Kids…

… And MONEY!

Talking about money can feel so awkward in a relationship.


There are a lot of similarities between our relationships with money and our relationships with sex:

  • There’s an element of “taboo” around both topics. We’re taught to believe money is not an acceptable topic of conversation.

  • Most of us inherit some sort of baggage from our parents. (For example, maybe your parents used to fight a lot about money.)

  • We often compare ourselves to others, and are curious to know how we stack up.

  • We don’t feel clear about what we want or need.

  • It can feel easier to bury our heads in the sand and avoid both topics entirely!

But it doesn’t need to be this way!


Today I want to share 12 questions and 6 tools for talking about money in your relationship!


Questions about money to discuss with your partner


  • What do you appreciate about how we handle money in our relationship?

  • What’s your first money memory?

  • How did your family handle money?

  • What were you taught to believe about money growing up?

  • As an adult, what kinds of purchases bring you genuine pleasure?

  • What do you feel anxious about when it comes to money?

  • If someone gave you $100,000 what would you do with it?

  • As a couple, where are our relationships with money similar, and where are they different?

  • What do we want to prioritize spending money on? What do we want to prioritize saving on?

  • How can we balance the mental load of finances? What feels right for our relationship?

  • What kind of relationship do you want to have with money?

  • What do you need to feel safe in your relationship with money?


Money tools to use in your relationship


Now let’s move on to some practical tools you and your partner can use to have a healthier relationship with money.


Discover your money identity


Rank where you are on each of these scales (in the middle? At one end or the other?), then compare your answers with each other!


money identity rating scale


Do monthly and yearly check ins


When things are good, it can be easy to go onto financial autopilot. And when finances are tight, it can be tempting to ignore bank or credit card statements to avoid being reminded of the challenges.


Regardless of what your situation is, it’s a good practice to do regular financial check-ins as a couple.


Whether you choose to do them monthly or annually (or somewhere in between), check-ins are a great way for both partners to feel up to date on your financial situation, and share some of the mental load associated with finances.


 

Couples Counseling Boulder with Darleen Gegich MA LPC

 


Consider having some amount of separate money


It’s so common for couples to have differing opinions on how and when to spend money.

While it’s important for both parties to be involved in large financial decisions, it can be nice to keep some amount of money separate so that each person can spend money in the way that feels good to them, without needing to worry about judgement from their partner.


If you already have combined finances, an easy way to do this would be to each open separate savings or checking accounts, and set aside a small monthly “allowance” that you each put into your separate accounts.



couple making an intimacy budget


Make an intimacy budget


We budget for things that benefit our well-being (travel, education, hobbies, self-care), but hardly anyone budgets for one of the biggest drivers of our well-being – INTIMACY!

We firmly believe you should set aside money for your relationship, so that you can invest in things like date nights, lingerie, or a couples’ retreat.


Create shared financial goals


In addition to regular financial check-ins, creating shared financial goals or a vision for your financial future can be really powerful.


Instead of just hoping to one day arrive at some mysterious financial destination, creating goals together can allow you both to get clear on what steps you need to achieve those goals.


Do you want to build your dream house? Donate a significant amount of money to charity? Pay off your student debt? Set some goals together!


Couples Counseling can help you navigate issues with money


Talking about money in your relationship can trigger feelings of unsafety for some couples. Having an experienced couples therapist that can support the two of you to discuss your fears, concerns, and desires around money in a safe space can make a big difference. The goal is for the two of you to understand more fully what is important to each of you regarding money and find options that honor both of you.


by Vanessa Marin


Contact Darleen