Love and Money: Talking About Finances With Your Significant Other

When you think about your sweetheart, you probably don't think about finances. But according to a recent study, one in three couples argued about finances, and one in 10 lied to their significant other about money. That's not exactly a recipe for romance.

Love or Money
When both of you are on the
same page with money, it can
help bring harmony to your
finances—and your relationship.

The best way to avoid such conflict is to make a point of communicating regularly about household finances, and to create solutions—like a budget—together. Here are 6 steps you can take to initiate and hold financial discussions with your significant other.

1. Plan ahead and make a list of financial matters to discuss. Most likely, your list will contain a combination of day-to-day financial issues (such as specific debts to pay down) and longer-term objectives (for instance, how you plan to reach a particular financial goal). You want to make every moment of your conversation count, so collect any documents you may need related to your list, such as mortgage and bank statements, loan information and other financial papers before the meeting.

2. Give your significant other a heads up. Tell him or her about your desire to discuss some financial matters. Like other important events, set a specific date and pencil it in on both of your calendars. This will give each of you time to locate financial documents and consider which matters to discuss.

3. Practice the discussion. If you're apprehensive about having "the money talk," consider sharing your list of discussion points with a trusted friend or confidant (you might not want to share nitty gritty financial details—save that for your sweetheart). It's important to keep the discussion financially focused and positive.

4. Keep your emotions in check. Financial discussions can be stressful, so try to keep the conversation businesslike, factual and respectful. Coming to the meeting with an agenda or check list can be helpful. Don't put too much pressure on one meeting. Treat the discussion as one of a series of discussions designed to generate positive results for you both.

5. Discuss ways to manage each financial issue. As a team, talk about how to manage costs, pay down debt, save and set financial goals. In short, make the meeting a two-way street.

6. Recap at the end of the discussion. Go over what you and your partner do next, with clear lines of responsibility and timelines assigned. End on a positive note.

Try to dedicate some time on a regular basis, such as every month, to talk about spending, financial planning, savings goals or other money issues. When both of you are on the same page with money, it can help bring harmony to your finances—and your relationship.

To learn more about saving and investing, visit the Investors section of FINRA.org. You can also subscribe to FINRA's Investor News newsletter.