For many of us, romantic relationships are a really important part of life.
Some people dream of finding a partner with whom they can spend the rest of their lives. Someone who shares their hopes for the future, or who is so head-over-heels in love with them that they make it their mission to help them achieve their dreams.
Most of us care about our partners and want them to feel able to talk to us about anything. But even if we’re used to talking about other topics, talking about money can feel a bit more difficult.
So, whether you’re in a long-term relationship — or your relationship is shiny and new — Loqbox is here to help you feel more confident about having money conversations with your partner.
Why does talking about money feel taboo?
Talking about money can feel taboo — even with the people you care about the most
If talking about money — even with your partner — feels in some way forbidden, you’re not alone.
Money can be a really sensitive topic. The way you feel about your finances — and the emotions that come up when you talk about them — depends a lot on the experiences you’ve had in the past. So opening up about money can make us feel quite vulnerable.
Why do money conversations make us feel vulnerable?
We all have different opinions when it comes to money. Your money mindset can be affected by all sorts of things — your financial situation in childhood, your personal beliefs, or even your overall wellbeing.
Regardless of the amount of money you have in the bank, you might find that you feel nervous talking about your finances. Rightly, or wrongly, many people feel guilty about money for many reasons, from income, to spending, to family situations, and lots more besides. But it’s important to remember that your money isn’t a representation of your worth as a person.
People are breaking the money taboo
The good news is that times are changing. People are starting to recognise the benefits of talking about money. Especially in relationships.
So, even if your own individual relationship with money is a bit difficult at the moment, it doesn’t mean that your conversations about money have to be. Try to remember that talking about money as a couple could help you to build a financially, and emotionally, secure future together.
Why is it important to talk about money?
Opening up about your finances could help you build a stronger foundation in your relationship
Often, our relationships with money affect the way we see ourselves and how we feel in ourselves. So opening up about our financial lives can help to build a sense of trust in your relationship.
It shows your partner that you’re there for them emotionally
Romantic relationships should be really fulfilling. It feels great to have someone there to celebrate with you during good times, and offer support when things aren’t going your way. So showing your partner that you’re willing to talk about finances could help them know that you’re there for them emotionally, too.
It helps you stay on the same page
Many of the decisions we make are affected by money — from our careers to our plans for the future — so keeping an open line of communication with your partner can help you stay on the same page. Knowing that you’re both able to be honest about your finances can help you feel supported when any obstacles come your way. It’s also important if you both want to work towards the same financial goal, like owning a house, or going on holiday together.
When should you talk about money in a relationship?
On your first date!
Okay, okay… we know that money might not feel like the most romantic conversation starter! But — because money affects so much in life — it can be a good idea to start speaking about it early on in your relationship.
If you’re feeling brave, you could even try sneaking in a quick money conversation at the end of your first date. Does your date prefer to split the bill, or take turns paying for date night? While this might sound like a small thing to you, you might find that their answer helps you get to know each other better.
When your finances begin to mix
It’s a good rule of thumb to talk about money your finances begin to mix with your partner’s. Even if you don’t live together, or have a joint bank account, you’ll probably find that you have some shared expenses like meals, coffee dates or days out.
Learning more about each other — and what you like to prioritise in your individual budgets — can help you be more aware of your partner’s attitudes when it comes to money.
Some people prefer to spend money on holidays and experiences now, while others might have big savings goals in the long-term. Being aware of these things early on can help you be more thoughtful — and understanding — as your relationship develops.
When you make any big life decisions with your partner
When you think about it, most life decisions involve some financial decision-making.
It can be helpful to chat about money whenever you’re making big decisions together — like moving in together, buying a home, starting a family, forming a civil partnership or getting married.
How can you start talking to your partner about money?
Begin with a positive mindset
Try to begin with a positive mindset. Before the conversation, take a few moments to think about your relationship with your partner. Think about why you care about them, and why you decided to be together.
Think about conversations you’ve had in the past
If you’re feeling a bit anxious about broaching the topic of money, it might help you to think about a time when you asked your partner to help you with a difficult situation in the past:
- How did they respond?
- Did you learn anything about the way that your partner prefers to communicate?
- Do you know about any experiences they might have had that could make this conversation more difficult for them?
Remember that money conversations don’t have to be negative. Approached the right way, these sorts of conversations could really help you to build — or strengthen — a sense of trust with your partner.
Plan a money date
Try to set aside time to talk in advance. It can be helpful to choose a time when you’ll both be free from distractions. (It can be easier to chat when you both have time to focus on each other, away from family or workplace commitments, or interruptions like housemates coming home from work.)
Ask questions, and be ready to listen
Open, honest communication is key. So remember to listen to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and concerns. It can be helpful to allow your partner to express their opinion without making a snap-judgement. Some people find it useful to make a list of what each partner wants to ask before getting started.
If you need some inspiration for how to kick things off, we’ve shared a few conversation starters below.
7 questions to help you spark the money conversation
Here’s a list of seven questions to ease you into the money conversation
- If money was no object, what would be the first thing you’d like us to experience together as a couple? (This one’s a bit of an icebreaker!)
- Are there any boundaries you want me to respect when we talk about money?
- What was your experience with money when you were growing up? (Remember to listen, show compassion and thank them for their honesty.)
- What’s the best financial decision you’ve ever made?
- How do you feel about money at the moment?
- Do you have any money habits you’d like to work on? Is there anything I can help you with?
- Are there any money goals you’d like us to work on together as a couple?
Remember that you’re both learning together
Give them a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
No two people are the same. So you might find that you — or your partner — have different levels of confidence when it comes to talking about money.
Try to show them compassion, and remember to respect one another’s boundaries. Give your partner time to think, and take breaks when you need them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all!