Talking About Money With Your Significant Other

As a young Dad working hard to secure a strong financial foundation for my family it can sometimes feel overwhelming when trying to identify the best ways to invest my time and money. With the advent of the internet there seems to be a plethora of resources available to guide you in your path to financial freedom. While I am still in the learning phase when it comes to my finances, I am sure that I can relate to most people in that I first began doing research into money matters by trying to establish a budget. In my case, I was trying to save money for my wedding.
What I’ve seen in my small pocket of American culture is a hesitancy to discuss financial matters with family and friends. I’m not sure if that is a by-product of the financial crisis of 2008 leading to a broader insecurity surrounding the topic of finance or a more generalized discomfort in speaking transparently about that subject. Whatever the reason, it just seems as though people don’t want to really talk about money. Maybe that’s why you are here reading this post now.
When it comes to my wife, we have always shared our finances. At first it was out of necessity because neither of us had much money to rub together between the two of us. We found that if we lived together and shared our collective income, we could reduce our overall costs and get our life moving in the right financial direction faster. For some, this may not be a great path to take. Perhaps you and your significant other would be better off keeping your finances separate, sharing equally in managing the responsibility of paying the monthly bills, but keeping the rest of the money separate to spend as you choose.
Whatever it is that works best for you my biggest recommendation is to TALK ABOUT MONEY. Choosing to remain ignorant about things like income, spending, debt, etc is just asking for trouble. I understand the hesitancy that you may feel in discussing finances, especially if you have been riddled with a large amount of college debt or credit card debt. But failing to discuss your past money mistakes will not make them go away. Creating an open dialogue where you can share with the one you love can be extremely beneficial.
Doing so has three primary benefits to you and your significant others relationship:
A: It allows you to share the load. Debt can be heavy and sometimes you need to allow others the ability to help you shoulder the emotional or (if you’re lucky) financial load. Even if you aren’t in debt sometimes you just need someone to discuss money with to relieve stress (or VENT as my wife calls it).
B: It enables you to put your financial problems into perspective and put your heads together to CRAFT A PLAN!
C: It keeps you accountable! By sharing these kind of details with your SO (significant other), it gives you an accountability buddy who can help you to avoid bad spending habits and help point you in the direction of financial freedom when you fall off the financial wagon.
Relationships that last the test of time are built on a foundation of trust. From what I have seen and experienced the number one killer of a relationship other than unfaithfulness, is money problems. Getting into a long term commitment like marriage can be a beautiful thing. But doing so without having any awareness of your partner’s finances is asking for trouble. If your SO is uncomfortable talking about finances, then you need to find ways to broach the subject and ensure that you create a more comfortable atmosphere for you both to discuss the topic. Going in blind without having a firm understanding of your SO’s spending habits and debt is akin to driving a car without power steering fluid; You can still make the turns in life that you need to make, but doing so is going to take triple the effort with ½ as much success.  
“How do I get my significant other to discuss their debt if they always shut me down when the topic comes up?”
You need to make it clear as to why you think it is important to discuss money as a couple. It’s not as though you are going to leave them high and dry just because they accumulated credit card debt.  Given the fact that the average American has a credit card balance of $6,375 you will be hard pressed to find anyone around you who doesn’t have a little credit card debt
You need to be real with one another so that you can take the necessary steps to conquer debt, change bad spending habits, and feel more financially secure. Talking about it opens a door to the lightness and freedom that can be found in a debt free household. Every single time you pay off a small debt, that’s one stress that you never have to experience or encounter again in your life. You are a team and that means that you must treat every single aspect of your life as a team effort. You can’t go it alone in anything especially not when it comes to finances.
Some of you may be the sole manager of your family’s finances. That is ok if that is what your SO prefers. However, I believe that you should still discuss what you are doing behind the scenes financially so that your partner understands the direction and feels included in the conversation. It is not unusual for people to get extremely stressed out by the topic of money. But if you discuss it more often and have a firm plan in place for how to get where you want to go, that can help lessen the stress and make it a more positive discussion. Eventually your discussions and plans will come to fruition. At that point, your conversations surrounding money will shed their heaviness and weight, transforming into fun discussions about where you plan to spend your extra dough! You could send your kid to their first summer camp! You could go on a cruise to Alaska! You could buy that new Fender Stratocaster Deluxe Guitar that you’ve been eyeing! You could do just about anything and it all starts with talking to each other about money. Anything is possible if you take the time, create a plan, discuss it often, and hold each other accountable.
'The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only.  It is not intended to be investment advice.  Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.'

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Also if you want to keep reading check out my post, "Right To Fly" where I reflect on one of my favorite John Mayer songs "Wheel" and discuss how we all have the right to fly but don't always exercise our right to take flight.

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