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The best way to talk about finances with your partner

Did you know that stress about finances is one of the leading causes of divorce? In a study by Slater and Gordon in 2018, Money concerns made the top of the list in a study that researched why couples in the UK split up.

Closer to home, we know money also plays an important role in relational health too. Relationship Australia found that money puts pressure on 20 per cent of couples. And in a 2022 survey by U.S. News & World Report, 3 in 10 couples said they had experienced financial infidelity, where hidden debts, purchases and accounts led to 19.9 per cent of respondents separating. 

Basically, talking about money can be very stressful. Whether you avoid the conversation, dominate it, or end up in a yelling match, things can get tricky. But that doesn’t change the fact we NEED to talk about money with our spouse or partner. The question is: how do we do it and still have a healthy, loving relationship in the aftermath? 

Every partnership is different, but in our experience there are a few steps you can take to make the conversation about money pleasant, hopeful and even exciting. 

Have a frank conversation about who is managing the money and paying the bills

Some couples like to share this responsibility, others decide to leave it with one person. Either way, before money begins changing hands (between you, or the bank), come to a unanimous decision about how this is recorded and managed. By doing this, you avoid assumptions and know what is expected of you.

Be transparent about previous debt and spending habits

Are you bringing financial debt into a relationship? Be honest about it, and figure out if you are now paying it off together or separately. There is also a good chance you both have different spending habits, and view the basic necessities, the essentials and luxuries differently. Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a thousand dollar shopping spree, or using after pay – be clear about your previous spending habits, and decide on how you will both take responsibility for your current finances now.

Talk about your future goals and how you want to reach them

Dreams require money. Whether you want to have kids, buy a home, renovate or go on a holiday, you need a plan to make it possible. And if you have the same goals and have agreed on how to reach them, then you are already halfway there (not literally, but you get the idea). The last thing you need is two people with two separate life goals and ideas on how to spend the same money.

Set clear expectations about your bank account/s, credit and savings

Some couples function best working from the same bank account, and have clear and equal expectations about how much goes in and out on a weekly basis. Others have two separate accounts, or a portion of a mixed account, set aside for their own individual costs. How much goes into savings, the mortgage, the bills and extra costs is up to you both.

Make big decisions together

When it comes to buying a house, lending money, making a massive life choice, getting a credit card, or changing financial providers you need to be on the same page. Suss out the minimum cost of an item or service that you want your partner to communicate with you about before committing to it. And agree to discuss any potential debt before either of you sign on the dotted line. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Wherever you are in your relationship and financial journey, you can always ask for help. Whether it’s financial, relational, spiritual or otherwise, there are people who can equip you to get through a tough season. Unsure about how to navigate your finances? Talk to your broker. Are you unsure how to approach these conversations with a partner? Talk to a couples counsellor. Do you or your partner freeze or have an anxiety attack whenever money is mentioned? See a psychologist or therapist. You don’t have to do this alone.


Do you need an outside point of view on your finances? Book an obligation free chat with me here and let’s make it happen.


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