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September 17, 2020

Here’s How to Talk to Your Partner About Finances

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This morning on Global TV’s The Morning Show, I join forces with Kelley Keehn to discuss the connection between finances and relationships. Check out my notes below, and don’t forget to watch the video segment!

How should you start a financial conversation with your spouse?

Start before the conflict arises. Talk about your financial values because they’re tied to personal values including those related to family, culture, upbringing and status. I suggest you talk about money generally first and then address specific behaviours, as once you have a better understanding of their personal values related to money, it might help you to see their behaviour in a different light.

Some questions that you might want to consider include:

  • What does money mean to you?
  • Why is it important?
  • What is your greatest fear when it comes to money?
  • What is your ultimate financial dream (within reason)?

What tips do you have for couples that have disagreements or fights over money?

If you follow Kelley’s advice and have a balance of both rules and freedom, you’ll likely fight about money less often and prevention is better than treatment.

If you still find yourselves arguing about money ask yourself what you’re afraid of — not what you’re angry about or what’s frustrating you, but what is making you feel vulnerable. If you can’t answer that, take a step back and try to think about what your partner might be afraid of — so that you can see them as vulnerable rather than angry or irresponsible — this will help you to approach the conversation with empathy.

What money conversations should couples have before getting married?

This goes back to values, so I’ll share a few prompts with you to start conversations:

How did you feel about money growing up? How does your income relate to your sense of self? How did our parents approach money? How much do you want to earn? How do you feel about earning more or less than your partner (and how does gender factor into your expectations)? What percentage do you want to save? What percentage do you put aside for your kids’ education (if any)? How do you manage discretionary spending? Do you prefer to keep your money together, apart or a combination of the two? Do you (want to) financially support your family in any way? This is just the tip of the iceberg and you’ll need to have ongoing conversations as your financial situation evolves.

How can differences in salaries affect a relationship?

Differences in salary can be perfectly harmonious if you take care of the relationship as a whole: emotional, relational, practical, sexual and communication-based elements.

If, however, you’re not effectively communicating about and investing in love, affection, trust, and working as a team salary differences can lead to resentment, power struggle, control and even financial abuse.