Show Me (How To Talk About) The Money
Dr. Phil, Dr. Ruth, and Dr. Lisa M. (ok, premature) all seem to agree that money is one of the biggest stressors in any relationship. If you add to that the fact that many people don’t know how to approach the subject without a fight, talking about money can definitely spell trouble.
Follow these two guidelines before you start to talk about cash in the confines of your relationship.
1. Define how you and your partner define money. I’m a spender. Money is for spending. Money is for buying the things I want, hence the reason most of my money goes toward paying off the bills I have from when I didn’t have money, but still wanted things (oh, precious Nordstrom card, I miss you dearly). I know that I look at money the way I look at life. It’s precious. It’s fleeting. Enjoy it while you can. My partner has the right, rational view about money. He believes that money should be saved in case of an emergency and believes you shouldn’t spend what you don’t have.
Knowing our two views about money means we can enter a conversation about cash aware of how each other feel. We can both enter in to the conversation knowing how each other tends to plan and budget. Knowing this helps us have a healthy perspective regarding the way we look at money as life partners and makes money talks easier.
2. Be prepared to sacrifice. Usually money talks happen when money is short. What are you willing to give up? Know your answer to this question before asking your partner to curtail any of his or her expenditures. In an effort to save money for fun vacations together, I can’t go to the spa every month. Also, I know it isn’t fair to keep spending what I don’t have and ask my fiscally-responsible partner to deal with my debt. So I work to pay off my debt and I haven’t spent a dime on credit since we have lived together.
If you know what you’re willing to sacrifice and are aware of your own and your partner’s point of view about cash, the money talk can move forward a bit more easily.