Navigating financial conversations with your partner

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Personal Credit
Written by: Beth Steadman, SVP, Central Washington Community Division Manager
Couple sitting on couch and smiling

Money matters can be a touchy subject and discussing finances with your significant other may seem daunting. However, open communication about money is important for a healthy relationship and leads to good financial management. Here are six tips to help you work through those potentially tricky conversations:

1. Choose the right time and place:

Timing is everything when it comes to discussing finances. Pick a time when both of you are relaxed and can focus without distractions. Avoid bringing up money matters during an argument or a stressful situation. For example, don’t hash out finances over dinner with your in-laws. Try choosing a calm and private setting. It’s even better if you schedule this ahead of time so both of you are prepared.

2. Express your feelings:

Start the conversation by sharing your feelings about money openly. Try using "I" statements to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, say, "I feel concerned about our budget" instead of "You're spending too much." This approach encourages your partner to understand your perspective without feeling attacked. It’s also important to be open about your past experiences with money. One of you may have struggled not having enough money to meet your needs as a child, while the other grew up with complete financial security. Understanding these histories can help shape your feelings and decisions about money going forward.

3. Set common goals

Find common ground by discussing your financial goals as a couple. Whether it's saving for a vacation, buying a home, or planning for retirement, setting shared objectives helps align your financial priorities. Maybe one of you focuses on saving money while the other pays off bills or debt. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of unity and encourages both of you to actively contribute to achieving those goals.

4. Create a budget together:

One of the most effective ways to manage finances as a couple is to create a budget collaboratively. Take the time to outline your monthly income, expenses and savings goals. This not only provides transparency but also helps identify areas where adjustments can be made. Be open to compromise and find a budget that suits both your needs and lifestyles. To learn how to start a budget, I recommend reading another blog on our website, Successful money management starts with a budget.

5. Regularly review and adjust:

Financial situations change, and it's essential to adapt your plans accordingly. Schedule regular check-ins to review your budget, discuss any financial concerns and adjust your goals as needed. This ongoing dialogue ensures that you both stay on the same page and can adapt to life changes together.

6. Seek professional guidance

We all need help sometimes. Don’t forget, you can always consult with your banker for financial advice. They can recommend certain products and services that may help your financial planning. You can reach out to one of our branches to speak with a knowledgeable banker today.

Remember, the key to successful financial conversations is to approach them with empathy and understanding. Following these tips can help you build a strong foundation for open communication about money in your relationship, fostering a healthier and more secure future together.