Need to Talk to Your Partner About Money? Go on a Money Date
Money is one of the hardest topics to discuss, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. A discussion about personal finances can kill the mood pretty quickly. However, there are a few ways you can transform the topic of money into a fun, sexy conversation. Instead of having a formal meeting about your household finances (if you’re married or living together) or your financial future (if you’re dating and thinking about getting married), turn that talk into a date. The only difference is your main discussion topic will be finances.
Strengthening your bond
Financial date nights can help strengthen your bank accounts and your relationship. “When you deposit the right kind of effort in your relationship, the results you experience will improve. Simply put, when you change what goes into the money conversations, what comes out will change too,” said personal finance experts Derek and Carrie Olsen.
Certified Financial Planner Brittney Castro says going on a financial date is a great way to reduce the stress and anxiety that often accompanies managing money. She recommends using money dates not only for having a general personal finance discussion but also for budgeting tasks. “Money dates are time in your calendar you spend budgeting your money, managing your money, and forecasting your money for the week,” said Castro. She recommends allocating at least one hour for your date.
Make it fun
Getting together to discuss your finances doesn’t have to be painful or overly serious. Try to keep the atmosphere light by adding refreshments and food if you plan to stay home. This should be an activity you look forward to. “Because it’s a date, you get to make it as fun as possible. I recommend that you add music or coffee or wine, whatever you need to do to make this date fun, that is going to allow you to change the energy and the feelings you have when you sit down and budget,” said Castro.
Commit to your date
Don’t find excuses to do something else or conveniently forget to prepare for your date. Mark your calendar and commit to attending this meeting so you can discuss your financial lives. If necessary, playfully remind each other of your upcoming financial date.
Go over financial goals
Do you want to retire early? Talk about it. Are you hoping to have another child? Decide on how you will prepare for the financial impact. Bring all of financial hopes and dreams to the table.
Review your budget
This is a good time to go over your budget to see if it is still realistic. Make adjustments as needed. If you are not married yet, but planning to marry, use this time to go over your wedding budget. Also discuss how you will handle merging finances. Will you have a joint bank account, separate accounts, or a combination of the two? Make an agenda to help you stay focused. Personal finance blogger Mrs. Frugalwoods says it’s also important to check in with each other and give each other a chance to express how you’re feeling about your financial situation. “Take turns sharing your feelings about your finances. This is a time for purely individual reflection. No attacking of the other person!” she said.
Agree to disagree
Remember that you will not always agree on how money should be spent. Respect each other’s money style and don’t attempt to force your partner to see things your way. Your money date should be enjoyable, so do your best to be kind to each other, even if you’re not in agreement on a money issue. “…You and your partner don’t share all the same ideas about money. You think differently. Even slight differences are worth exploring and resolving. You’ll get to uncover the reasons behind each other’s feelings, money management methods, and opinions. When you understand each other’s perspectives, you’ll grow closer,” said the Olsens.
Make this a regular meeting
Financial education website Feed the Pig suggests having your money dates quarterly or monthly. The goal is to meet consistently so that it becomes a natural part of your financial planning as a couple.