CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Arguing over money can put a strain on any relationship, but what can couples do to make this topic less stressful?
How to Make Talking About Finances Less Stressful
There are definitely some guidelines to help people can learn to talk about finances in a healthier, more satisfying way. I think all couples should talk about these things even before marriage or setting up a household together.
Avoid using the word “budget.”
Some people have negative associations with this word which may set up a feeling of deprivation. Instead, think in terms of developing a spending plan. Deciding together what goals you want to save for and what goods and services you want to spend your money on.
Talk about money history. Whether people have been in a relationship 10 weeks or 10 years, talking about money history is a first step to getting on the same page about finances. Having an understanding of the partner’s beliefs can help people avoid conflict and set the stage for healthy discussions about joint finances.
Some things to discuss:
What did your parents teach you about money/saving/debt
What are your financial goals
What are your fears about money
What are your personal spending habits
Can you live with your partner’s spending habits
Take a time out.
If financial discussions become heated, take a time out and revisit them later. When it comes to money, partners may not always see eye to eye. It may be helpful to talk to a financial advisor.
Get professional help.
It may also be helpful to talk with a psychologist to learn to improve your overall communication skills and gain an understanding of each other’s beliefs and values. Relationships are about compromise and respect. You don’t have to agree on everything. But, it is important to respect each others feelings and beliefs.