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Romantic Ways to Talk About Money with Your Partner

Written by: Kristy Welsh

Last Updated: September 11, 2017

Romantic: "Conducive to or characterized by the expression of love."

If there is any conversation with your partner that could benefit from a greater expression of love, it’s the money talk.  No matter how close you are with your partner, talking about money doesn’t come easy to most of us. The good news is, it’s not the money talk that is to blame. It’s the approach.

Fear fuels anger. Anger fuels blame. Blame fuels defensiveness. The key? Instead of starting from fear, try starting from love.

1. Talk to your partner about the money talk.

The time to talk about money is not when a concern or problem comes up. That’s not to say you should ignore concerns or problems, only that (unless they’re urgent) they are best left discussed at a scheduled time and place when you are both prepared for the conversation, mentally and emotionally.

2. Share with your partner how you believe talking about money can improve your relationship.

When you talk about money with your partner on a regular basis, you will:

  • Grow closer
  • Reduce conflict
  • Achieve financial goals faster

Any others you’d add to the list?

3. Suggest that the money talk be ongoing.

As with every other aspect of your relationship, your financial intimacy needs nurturing too. Checking in with one another on a regular basis will not only help you stay on track with financial goals, but also adjust them in light of new information, challenges, or feelings. 

4. Schedule regular times to talk.

How often you talk is up to you, just keep it consistent and easy to remember:

  • Every Saturday morning?
  • Every other Sunday?
  • The first of every month?

As for time of day, choose carefully. Early is best unless it’s a day when neither of you have a lot going on and an evening money conversation, for example, won’t be colored by a long, stressful workday.

Finally, be sure and set a length of time to talk. You can adjust this going forward depending on what feels right to you, but try starting with a 2-hour time block.

5. Talk in a positive, comfortable environment.

Where do you and your partner seem to have the best conversations at home? The kitchen table? The patio? The living room floor? Wherever it is, that’s where you should have your money talk. Set out some of your favorite refreshments, and you’re good to go.

6. Make separate lists of what you want to discuss.

This means taking some time beforehand, individually, to get clear on what issues matter to you most. This should probably include:

  • Financial goals, both short- and long-term.
  • Coming clean about your own money mistakes.
  • Concerns about your partner’s money behavior.

7. Bring relevant numbers and documents.

The more you can bring the better, especially if it’s information you’ve never shared with your partner before, like:

8. Take turns talking.

Go back-and-forth, each of you talking about one item on your list at a time. Note, it is probably best to lead with items relative to your own money mistakes before addressing any concerns you may have with theirs.

9. Practice reflective, non-judgmental listening.

After listening to your partner share an item on their list, reflect back to them what you heard, as in “What I’m hearing you say is….” It’s then your partner’s turn to clarify things as they deem necessary.

10. Recap what (if anything) each of you plans to do before the next talk.

Did you agree to spend less on food this week? Pay off a credit card bill this month? Cancel cable? Open a savings account? Send a dispute letter to a credit bureau?

Whatever the tasks you’ve agreed to, recap them all, sure to state who’s doing what, and when.

11. Do something romantic afterward.

In keeping with the theme, make it something frugal. Take a walk. Go to lunch. Catch a matinee.

12. For your next talk, keep a running list of ideas, observations, concerns, and tasks completed.

Whether it’s on your computer, smartphone, or good-old-fashioned notebook paper, keep a record of what you’re thinking and feeling, money-wise, going forward. While you may not share all of this with your partner, it can prove an invaluable resource for getting to the heart of what you really need to be talking about.