How to have money talk with your partner – Alexa von Tobel

Tackling your money can be challenging enough on your own. So how do you even begin to manage your personal finances with your significant other? Whether you want to get on the same page about money in a new relationship or have been married for years, it’s always important to keep the lines of communication about money open.

Money can play a critical role in our lives, and the way you and your partner spend speaks to your priorities. It’s scary to consider, but fights over money are actually a leading indicator of breaking up.

Plus, money is such a taboo topic that having a thoughtful conversation about money—even with your loved ones—can feel awkward. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here’s what you need to know to make your “money talk” more comfortable and productive.

How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner

Make it regular

Your money talks should be an ongoing conversation, so try setting aside a recurring time. Perhaps you do a quick check-in on your budget each month, and schedule a longer conversation twice a year. With these dates on the calendar in advance, the request to talk won’t come out of left field.

How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner

Set the mood

Just as you would with any big conversation, make sure to set yourself up for success. Find a quiet space, free of distractions, and do it when you both have time to focus. The end of a long workday when you’re worn out is less ideal than a relaxing Sunday morning, for example.

How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner

Be open

It seems that no one really feels good about money, so check any negativity (shame, worry, doubt) at the door, and stay focused on making progress. Keep your cool and remember that the point of your talk is to avoid future tensions.

How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner

Have a plan

Go into it with a game plan. What are you hoping to accomplish? Perhaps you’re moving in together and need to work out the logistics of rent and cable bills. Or maybe you’re expecting a child and figuring out how to fit childcare into your budget. Whatever your goals, come ready with the information you’ll need to make decisions together.

How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner

Ask questions

Your money talk should be a two-way street, so start by asking (and both responding) to key questions. Some favorites: What would you like to achieve in the next five years? Do you think our budget is reasonable and realistic? Do you prefer spending on experiences or things? What are our biggest financial goals for the year? Do we have any big decisions coming up that we should talk through?

As you get into the habit of having these conversations, I promise it will get easier and easier. If you’re having trouble getting started, feel free to use me as an excuse! And if you’re still stuck, consider talking to a financial planner (like those at who can help you navigate a shared financial plan for your shared life.

For more advice from Alexa, read her recent columns on personal finance, or visit her online at LearnVest.com.

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