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6 tips for couples to have a (successful!) conversation about money

Article updated on 19/08/2019
Talking about money with your boyfriend or girlfriend is obviously less exciting than discussing your next holiday. But breaking down the taboo will better prepare you to plan your life together. Our expert Fanny Chouinard, Financial Recovery Advisor, has 6 tips to help the two of you have the talk.

Summary

6 tips for couples to have a (successful!) conversation about money
  • Barely 50% of couples talk about money. But it’s an important topic to discuss. Money is a concern for the present as much as the future.
  • People tend to avoid the subject out of fear. But talking with your partner about finances will be a weight off your shoulders.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact an advisor if you’re having trouble bringing it up, or if you and your partner can’t find the answer to a financial problem once you do.

 

1.

Don’t be scared

A recent study has shown that nearly 50% of couples never discuss their finances (French only). Fanny Chouinard has helped hundreds of people who have come into her office, and she’s noticed the same thing: Too many people are afraid to broach the subject with their partner. “They’re ashamed. Scared their partner will judge them. Scared to mislead their partner.”

Her number one piece of advice to these couples: Stop being afraid of the person you love! “They’ve chosen to spend their life with you. They deserve your trust. It’s almost certain they’ll still love you even if you tell them you have financial problems! They’ll want to help you find a solution,” the specialist points out.

2.

Have clear intentions

Another rule of thumb for talking about money as a couple is to know exactly what the chat is about. “Money” is too vague a topic. Wanting to discuss ways to save money as a couple or pay down debts together is much more specific. “The goal of the conversation could also be to take stock of your finances,” adds Fanny Chouinard.

Together, it may become clear that you can’t solve things your own. It will be easier to make the decision to get help from one of our experts.

3.

Go slowly

Of course, revealing your entire financial situation to your partner at all once can be intimidating. If you’re nervous, take this advice from Fanny Chouinard: “Start small.” As with anything in life, take it one step at a time.

In other words: Don’t try to say everything all at once. You shouldn’t try to cover every topic in a single conversation. It is a good idea, however, to discuss your finances with your partner on a regular basis (see tip #5).

4.

Break the ice by talking about budgeting

Need a good way to start this conversation with your partner? According to our financial recovery advisor, “Budgeting is a great place to start.” Making a budget (even your personal budget) together with your partner lets you talk openly about your income and expenses. You can put your priorities out there: Are you more interested in having a good time or putting money aside?

It’s also usually easier to see if a budget balances when you have someone else to go over it! As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. (Eager to get started on your budget this very evening? This tool makes it easy.)

5.

Keep lines of communication open

Even if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend have had one conversation about money, that doesn’t mean you’re done. People’s finances are always changing. Your income can be drastically affected by losing your job. Or if you get sick or have an accident.

On the other hand, a raise could leave you with extra cash (and a chance to pay down your debts, for example). You also shouldn’t neglect to keep an eye on your budget and adjust it over time.

For all of these reasons, your finances shouldn’t just be on the table to talk about with your partner—you should actively discuss them on a regular basis.

6.

Look to an expert for help

There’s no shame in feeling like you’ve hit a wall with your financial situation, even if you and your partner talk about it often. In cases like these, it’s best to seek outside help. “We’re experts, so we have solutions. We also have enough distance to properly analyze the situation. To make an appointment, simply give us a call or get in touch via our chat service,” says Fanny Chouinard.

The financial recovery advisor even suggests that clients bring along their spouse. Yes, two heads are better than one. But sometimes you need a third to find the best solution!

 

3 things to avoid

Keeping secrets

Financial problems are a heavy burden. Hiding the situation from your significant other only makes it harder to bear.

Imposing your financial vision

Everyone has a personal relationship with money. When you talk about it, remember to be respectful. Be open to compromise.

Talking about money at the wrong time

Money can be a sensitive subject. Having an argument? That’s not a good time to bring it up. Find a better moment to have the conversation.