Financial trust = better sex?
A Money poll found that 88% of millennials prized financial responsibility in a partner, ranking right up there with humor and intellectual compatibility. And, here’s the fun part – those who trust their partner with money reported better sex lives. Definitely something to work toward. The implications of financial well-being in your relationship have far-reaching benefits. 😉
Such a fun way to look at relationships and money! Yet, finances can impact a relationship in negative ways that go far beyond the bedroom. Statistics show money stress as one of the major issues leading to divorce.
Could it be that our unwillingness to even bring up the topic of money in a conversation plays into this statistic?
Many people would rather talk about their bodily functions than talk about their finances.
Granted, it’s one thing to not discuss finances with strangers you meet on the street. But, according to the American Psychological Association, just 37% of people talk about money with their own family members. Additionally, 31% of people report money as a source of conflict in their relationship.
The same report went on to show financial stress levels are significantly higher among people without any perceived emotional support. So, money is a source of stress and stress increases when we don’t have support, yet we are unwilling to even talk about money to get the support we feel we are lacking. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
A lack of communication about money is just the tip of the iceberg for some, though. One in three adults have reported being dishonest with their partner about money.
Like it or not, money plays a huge role in our relationships. Sweeping it under the rug and pretending like it’s not there doesn’t work.
This weekend, I encourage you to have a money conversation with your partner. I know, that sounds so boring. So, let’s call it a hot money date instead.
You don’t have to sit down with the calculator, a pile of bills and receipts and get down to the nitty gritty. If you’ve never had money conversations with your partner, start on a lighter note. Simply get the conversation started.
Plan a hot money date
Choose a neutral/happy time to have discussion
When you’re in the heat of an argument is not the time to have a money conversation. Set aside a time on the weekend when you are relaxed.
Make it a date
Consider it a date over a glass of wine. Keep it light. When you are just beginning to have money conversations, it’s best to start off just trying to get to know each other’s thoughts and feelings about money.
Take turns talking and listening
Listen to what your partner is saying without interruption. Defensiveness or accusations should not be part of the conversation (agree on this prior to your date). This is just a starter conversation to see where you both are and what steps may be next.
Get to know each other…financially
You probably already know (or at least have an idea) how your partner uses his/her money, but you may not know his/her thoughts, fears, or background on money. Everyone learned different information and philosophies about money growing up. Your childhood experiences with money have a huge impact on how you think and feel about it. It’s important to gain an understanding of where you and your partner are both coming from.
Discuss each person’s hopes and dreams
How does money play into these hopes and dreams? Identify life goals and see if you can work them into combined goals. When you have a combined goal, you’ll become a team and can more easily work on the goal together. This will strengthen your finances and your relationship.
Concerns may come up, even if you don’t intend to bring them up. Again, leave defensiveness and accusations out of it and actually listen to each other if concerns arise.
Consider taking a break and coming back to concerns later. Make a list of issues, fears, and other topics around money that you each want to address and put a “pin” in it. Which leads me to…
Plan another conversation
Make plans for future money dates and/or nitty gritty personal finance work you will do. Consider the hopes and dreams you both have and what steps you need to take to start working toward them. Or set a time do net worth or track expenses for a month. Whatever you decide to do, continue to communicate and plan. Make it a regular, weekly date.
If your partner was a little hesitant about starting the conversation, show your appreciation for their willingness to take part. Show your understanding that money conversations can be uncomfortable, while sharing why you think it’s important to your relationship and your finances.
Starting the money conversation….
Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas:
Each partner answers the question “How would you spend $100,000?”. This is a fun icebreaker from How We Money to get a money conversation started with your partner.
Read a book separately and come together to discuss it. This suggestion comes from Apathy Ends – he and his wife each read Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach, did the exercises separately, and came together to discuss what each of them discovered about the purpose of money in their life.
Think 5 years into the future. Ask “What do you want your life to look like 5 years from now?”. You and your partner share what you would like your lives to look like at that point and what you need to do, financially and otherwise, to get there.
Do you and your partner discuss money? How do you get the conversation started? What works and what doesn’t?
Some tools I use myself that you may find helpful:
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