When my now husband and I first got engaged, I knew money would be an issue.
Not because either one of us had a particularly large debt, or were “bad” with budgeting. On the contrary, it was more that I love dealing with and talking about money, and I knew I wanted to be 100% in charge of ours.
Obviously, we would need to have a talk about that.
It sounds easy, but when push comes to shove, the conversation can be awkward. Jackie Black, PhD, BCC, relationship expert and author of “Couples and Money: Cracking the Code to Ending the #1 Conflict in Marriage,” and LearnVest Director of Financial Planning Stephany Kirkpatrick, CFP®, gave us some important pointers on the best ways to have the money talk, what topics to cover … and why it’s so important in the first place.
Why You Need to Talk About Money
“People’s pasts deeply affect, and continue to influence, their financial presents and futures,” explains Dr. Black. “Values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors related to money significantly limit people being able to talk about it and make good choices.”
After all, a talk about money is rarely just a talk about dollars and cents—it’s a more intimate reveal of beliefs and values, expressed through how you spend.
Don’t believe us? Consider this question: Is private college tuition worth it? Most couples could debate for hours about whether they’re gunning to send their kids to a an Ivy League or a state school (or whether they’ll foot the bill for college at all), and decisions like that have a big impact on where you put your money and how much of it.
Plus, says Dr. Black, the way you manage money with your partner is a mirror of the ways you handle (or don’t) all kinds of issues in your relationship. In fact, the more a couple disagrees, the higher their chance of divorce: A 2009 study found that couples who disagree over money once a week are 30% more likely to part ways than couples who have those same disagreements once a month.
Knowing that, it’s high time you had the conversation. When you do, here’s what you need to get on the same page about.