Have you ever thought that you should have the money talk with your half before wedding?
Most couples are already living with their partner before getting married, which is usually when the first big money talk happens—it would be hard to sign a lease together otherwise. How in depth was that chat? Maybe you just covered the basics like salary, benefits and credit scores, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
We know what you’re thinking: Yeah yeah, that’s all well and good, but how do I go about having a constructive conversation about those dolla bills? First off, you can’t feel self conscious. If one of you makes significantly more than the other, any insecurities that come along with that need to go out the window in order for the money talk to work. On that note, it’s important to ask them if they’re okay being the breadwinner, so to speak. It may have always been implied without actually having a platform to talk about taking on that responsibility.
You also need to discuss how you each want to earn your money. “If you someday want to work part time, own your own business or retire early so you don’t have to work at all—don’t you want to know how your partner feels about that?” Weliver asks. Consider what your lives would look like if you’re both earning money the way you want to. If one partner loses their job, can you both still be supported? Can one of you be a stay-at-home parent or is there enough money for daily child care? “Smart couples will talk about these kind of scenarios before they’re right around the corner,” he says.
Next, talk value. Not a monetary value, but personal value. “If you love fashion, finding a $400 coat at half price might not be a justifiable expense, but a great deal,” Weliver says. “But when you try to explain this to your partner who only shops at Goodwill, he or she might freak. In this case, it’s not about the number. It’s about what you value. If you want your partner to understand why you need that $200 coat, you need to take time to explain why you value it—and your partner needs to take the time to understand.”
Lastly, Weliver suggests tackling this talk little by little, day by day. The worst thing you could do is wait until your partner tells you about a big purchase after the fact (or vice versa). Starting this conversation in a safe space will foster more openness and honesty. In the end, getting through these hard topics together can make your relationship feel even stronger. “Talking about money can make us feel vulnerable, so you can build trust with your partner by being extremely understanding and supportive when talking about your finances,” Weliver says.