Did you know that 32% of coupled adults admitted to ‘cheating’ on their partner financially? This might mean hiding debt, spending outside of agreed budgets or hiding financial decisions generally.
It goes to show how important it is to have early and open conversations about money in any relationship - romantic and otherwise. While money can be hard to talk about, there are ways to help ignite the flame to get the conversation going.
Speaking of flames…Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so the topic of money might be coming up as you plan your date night. 🔥
Along with that, there might also be conflicting financial expectations. Maybe one of you wants to go to Time Out’s top-rated restaurant and maybe the other has a tight budget and wants to stay in. For students, Valentine’s Day can just be another added stress with everything else going on.
Whether or not you’re celebrating this day of love, here are some tips for talking about money with your partner:
1. Start early
Money talks might not be the most romantic, but they are important.
You don’t have to ask your date on day one how much they make for a living (and probably shouldn’t), but at some point in your dating journey, you can ask questions about their general financial goals for the future.
Maybe talk about financial aspirations, whether it's buying a home, travelling or saving for a shared goal. It can help set the stage for open communication about money throughout the relationship.
2. Be open about your past
Talking about previous struggles with money, or your familial situation growing up can help your partner understand your current relationship with money.
You can share both struggles and successes you've had with money, how your parents viewed money and the values instilled in you regarding finances. This openness creates a foundation of trust and transparency in your relationship. 😍
3. Set budgets for your relationship
Setting budgets for your relationship can help make sure neither person ends up in a financial crisis or stress. It’s a good idea to have your own budget independent of your partner, so you can then assess what you have to spend as a couple.
For tips on how to set a budget, check out ‘The Budgeting Decision Tree’.
You can then decide together how to split bills or date nights and plan holidays depending on your income. For example, if one person earns more, you could do a 70-30% split instead of 50-50%.
A budget can help you both establish your financial boundaries and make sure you can still do the things you want in your relationship.
4. Acknowledge financial differences
Finances can be a tricky subject, especially if there’s a big difference in income, or if one person gets more financial support than the other.
While setting a budget, it’s also important to be empathetic to each other’s situation and not create feelings of ‘guilt’ over one person being unable to afford something. It can be tough during times of financial difficulty to see the person closest to you with more to spend.
If you’re the one who has more money, acknowledge that you might have more financial privilege than the other - whether that’s from family money, additional financial support or money you’ve earned through your own means. Simply acknowledging your privilege can help diffuse potential bitterness.
If you’re the one with less, it’s important to be open and honest about what you can and can’t afford. It can be easy to get into the trap of ‘peer pressure’ spending - over-spending for fear of being left out - and end up saying yes to things you can’t afford.
But ultimately, this will only create more financial hardship for you - and your partner won’t want you to be in a situation where you’re struggling.
5. Regularly revisit and revise
Has term time ended and more social events are going on? Maybe you or your partner got a new side hustle and have a bit of extra cash. 💰
Financial situations can change, and so should your approach to managing money as a couple! Make it a habit to revisit your financial discussions regularly. This could involve checking in on your shared goals, adjusting budgets based on income changes or addressing any new financial challenges that arise.
Talking about money might not be the sexiest topic. But, it can create more openness and understanding in your relationships, which can help carve a deeper path into love and financial wellbeing. 💜
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