Married Monday: Money Matters – How To Talk The Talk

I’m debuting a brand spankin’ new regular feature on the
blog today – Married Monday. Every Monday, we’ll be tackling a topic or issue
or just talking about being married. This Monday (and a few more Mondays, since
this was a hot topic!), we’re taking on money. Specifically, talking about
money. Because it’s a BIG, BIG deal to a lot of people and the actual talking
part can be really overwhelming.

According to this article from Alex Veiga for the Huffington Post, money problems are “the No. 1 reason marriages end in divorce.” And
honestly, it’s usually due to a lack of open communication about money more than the actual financial problems. Because here’s the thing, EVERYONE
has financial issues. EVERYONE is concerned about bills, debt, spending, and the
budget. It’s how a couple deals with those issues that can improve or destroy a
marriage.

Couple Discusses Money
Image Courtesy of: Citibank

To help me out, I surveyed a bunch of Tulle Nation members
(thanks!) and found out that talking about money can be really,
really emotional but IT NEEDS TO BE DONE. According to those surveyed, 96%
discussed money matters BEFORE getting married (generally during the wedding planning process) and many were scared, reluctant,
or stressed about discussing finances with their partner. The good news? Even
with undisclosed debt or differences in spending habits the talks went well. In
fact, most of those who were nervous to have The Talk were relieved to find
that their partner was unemotional about the whole thing.

One reader stated that, "My partner was much more
comfortable with it. He saw it as an important thing and didn't attach as many
emotions to it as I do." That seemed to be a reoccurring theme – that one
partner was nervous to discuss and felt very vulnerable while the other person
was straight forward and unemotional. For the record, that how it was with The
Boy and I – I was bordering on low-level hysteria while he had already started
making set plans and goals for handling our (mostly my) debt. I was completely
surprised at how calm he was (even after finding out about my stupidiness with
money). In his mind though, it was just one more thing to accept about the
person he was planning to marry (like how mean I am in the morning or how I
hoard napkins when we eat out).

To help you get started, here’s a PDF with suggestions on how and when to begin talking to your partner about money (click on the image to download):

Money Matters - How To Talk The Talk

Money Matters – How To Talk The Talk

  1. Find a Neutral Time: Don't wait until a
    hot financial issue arises to broach the subject. Your goal is to have a calm,
    focused discussion when there's no big money issue happening.
  2. Keep it Even: Share your
    feelings, experiences, and hopes about money and try to avoid making the
    discussions one-sided. Talk about how your family dealt with money, what it
    meant to you when you were growing up, and how you dealt with it in past
    relationships.
  3. Be honest about how you feel: It may be hard
    for you to be "taken care of" financially, you may fear risking your
    hard-earned money, or you could resent his/her spending habits. You have to be
    honest with yourself in order to be honest with your partner.
  4. Discuss
    and identify mutual short and long term goals
    : Having a future-based
    conversation about what you want out of your life and your money helps relieve
    tension.
  5. Establish
    ground rules for talking about money: Create a framework
    for talking about money that works for both you and your partner. Get to know each
    other’s preferences and respect them when it comes time to discuss money
    matters.
  6. Come
    prepared
    : Come
    prepared with your recent paystub, annual salary, bank statements, credit card
    statements (all of them), any other loans or debt, and investment statements.
    Compare your current statements to figure out if you are in line
    with your joint goals and that you’re not over-invested in one sector and
    under-invested in another.
  7. Determine each other’s money personalities: It’s important you understand your partner’s
    relationship with money. Some people
    are savers and others are spenders. Understanding each other’s money
    personalities helps shape your approach to saving, budgeting and bill paying.

How many of you have tackled the Money Talk? Was it tricky?
No big deal? Do you wish you had handled it differently? We’ll be talking about
this lots more in the coming months plus tackling your concerns about
post-wedding sex, babies, decorating, cooking, chores, family… basically
EVERYTHING after the wedding! Have a topic or issue you’d like to see Tulle Nation
tackle on Married Monday? Leave a comment or email me!

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