If you struggle to talk about debt with your significant other, you are not alone. In survey after survey, couples rank this as the topic they are most likely to fight about. It is also seen as the topic where it is hardest to find agreement. Here are a few tips to help you get started to assure a healthy financial future.
Acknowledge the Emotions Involved
Debt can be a stressful and volatile subject. Often, we feel judged about our spending habits, even when we are talking to the people who love us most. Calmly acknowledge the emotions each of you may be feeling. Understand that there are expectations each of you have and areas where you each might feel disappointed or uncertain.
Pick a Good Time to Talk
Financial discussions should happen when you are each feeling calm and relaxed. For instance, do not try to talk about debt at the end of a long and stressful work week. And, don’t ambush one another with a surprise discussion. Instead, plan for a talk when you know you’ll both be rested and ready.
Be Kind to One Another
Getting angry and blaming one another for issues that range from excessive spending to lower earnings doesn’t help. Instead, talk as calmly and objectively as possible about the facts of your finances. Instead of, for instance, pointing out how much your partner spent last month on clothing, point at how much your current credit card bill is and how long it might take to pay it off. Talking in terms of solutions empowers you both.
Make It a Habit
The debt talk is not a one-time talk. Instead, you should periodically discuss your current financial situations, your goals and how you plan to get there. Some couples do a monthly budget discussion where they talk about the past month’s bills and income. Others talk whenever a major factor in their finances has changed. By making these discussions a regular feature of your relationship, you remove a lot of the emotional heaviness while keeping you both on track.
Financial talks are not easy. However, making them a part of your relationship can remove more stress than they add. Talk openly, honestly and compassionately with one another to strengthen your relationship and your financial outlook.
- Handwrite a budget. Be detailed. Do it together! Expect to spend 20 – 30 minutes.
- You both need to be on the same page here. You can use the worksheets on the following 2 pages or,
- Go to; https://www.consumer.gov/sites/www.consumer.gov/files/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet_form.pdf
- When finished, have a glass of wine or go to a movie or take a nice walk, together.