How to talk about money in a relationship: four easy exercises to try

Struggling to talk about money in your relationship? Or not sure how to start? Here are four easy exercises to help you break down that barrier.

There’s no greater passion killer than talking about money. Snuggling up on the sofa with your other half and discussing debt repayments or target savings, is nobody’s idea of a romantic night in. Unfortunately, having open and honest discussions about finances with your partner really is a must, if you want a happy and healthy relationship.

With relationship breakdowns often attributed to money issues, ensuring that you and your partner are on the same financial track is crucial, if you want your relationship to last. In that way, money discussions are probably the number one romantic thing that you can do.  

Trethowans
Trethowans

How to talk about money in a relationship

To make starting that dialogue easier, we’ve come up with four easy exercises that you could try with your other half.

1) What would you do if you won the lottery?

We all enjoy fantasising about the things we’d do if we had an endless pot of money.  

Start your financial discussions with your spouse on a more jovial note by talking about what each of you would do if you won, say, $5 million. Try to narrow it down to three or four things each.

Although this seems like a bit of fun (and it is actually quite an enjoyable activity), this is a really good way to discover what your partner’s money priorities are. Would they invest the money? Move to the other side of the world? Buy a whole range of classic cars?

This activity is a useful way to start to get to know each other’s way of thinking when it comes to finance-related matters.

2) What if…?

This exercise is about posing hypothetical questions and finding out how each of you feels about a certain situation. 

For example, you could say: “What if I bought a really expensive pair of shoes and hid them from you?” or “Would I need to tell you if I took out a small loan?”. 

This should help you to start talking about openness, honesty and your expectations regarding money-related matters. 

3) In five years… 

Each write down your top three financial goals that you hope to archive within five years and hand them to your spouse to read out. 

This should help to open up discussions about your future and flag up any potential issues. If one of you says that you aspire to buy a house and pay off half of your mortgage really quickly, for example, and the other says they want to save up while renting, then travel to the world, these are very different attitudes to how you see your money being used.

Discuss possible compromises and, if neither of you are willing to budge on a matter, this could flag up some future issues. 

4) How did your parents spend money?

Understanding how your partner’s parents spent and saved and what your spouse thinks about this, is a good way of furthering your discussions on how you see your financial future.

Finally, it’s important to keep the dialogue open. Ensure that you arrange money-based meetings on a regular basis or at least once every six months. This way, you can ensure you’re both still on the same track and there are no nasty surprises lurking further down the line.

Photo by Alex Holyoake