Skip to main content
Routing # 307075259

How to Discuss Finances as a Couple

Opening up about things like debts, spending habits, savings, income, and other finances can feel vulnerable and scary, and many couples avoid the topic. However, whether you’re married, engaged, or just starting to get serious with somebody, it’s a good idea to come clean about your financial situation, learn to share your financial goals, and start talking about your financial habits.

If you’re struggling to talk openly with your partner about money, here are some tips for getting the conversation started, and keeping it going in a healthy and productive way.

Start the Conversation Early in Your Relationship

A few months into a relationship, start talking about your own financial goals; things like retirement plans, home ownership, paying off debt, and ask them about theirs. Try asking open-ended questions that allow you to talk about your attitudes toward these things rather than specific numbers. This will help give you a sense of whether their financial goals and behaviors are in line with yours. You might ask:

  • Do you have plans or goals to buy a home?
  • How do you feel about what you’ve been able to save for retirement so far?

Continue To Talk About Money in Your Relationship

Talking about money should be an ongoing conversation in a healthy relationship and your financial transparency with one another should grow. Especially in a relationship where you both want to eventually share money decisions or finances. Experts say before marriage you should have a complete picture of your partner’s debt, assets, and bank account statements.

Couple talking on the couch

Be Open About Your Past Experiences with Money

A lot of times, people’s feelings about money are tied to their upbringings. It can be helpful to ask your partner about how their family approached money when they were growing up and share how you were taught about money. This can help you and your partner learn about each other’s childhoods and it will put each person’s feelings about money in context.

Schedule Money Conversations Ahead of Time

When financial pressures and problems are present, this can bring on strong emotions like embarrassment and anxiety. Bringing up the topic on the fly when someone isn’t expecting it can increase this even more and cause defensiveness. Instead try to carve out plenty of time in a private, quiet environment with minimal distractions to talk. Doing so will increases chances that it's a productive conversation because both parties will have had time to think about it beforehand.

Expect Hurdles

The goal of financial intimacy isn’t to agree on every single monetary decision because that’s practically impossible. Instead, it’s about learning how to navigate money decisions in a healthy, productive way, where everyone feels heard. By respecting each other’s point of view and being willing to compromise, you’ll be stronger as a couple.

If you want your relationship to last, you will need to talk about money at some point. So even though money conversations might not be the most exciting part of a new relationship, having these vulnerable talks can really deepen your connection.

If you don’t see eye-to-eye with your partner about money (and even if you do) it can be helpful to get an objective, third-party perspective. Speak with Shelley Hertel AAMS®, CRPC® at Credit Union of Denver’s Investment & Retirement Center for financial planning. She can assess your current situation and offer suggestions around what you should do to reach your financial goals. 303.239.1179


Sources and enhanced by Credit Union of Denver

View All Blog Posts