For Valentine’s Day: Expert Advice for Talking About Money With Your Love

Cropped shot of an affectionate young couple posing with a bunch of flowers in their kitchen on their anniversary.
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Studies show that financial stability is one of the most important traits in a partner. However, the pandemic has increased financial stress on relationships in the past two years. The recent Love & Money Report, published by digital wealth advisor Personal Capital, revealed that 57% of adults in the U.S. say the pandemic has increased financial stress in their relationship. The pandemic seems to have had the most strain on younger generations. Of those who reportedly experienced increased financial stress, 65% were either millennial or Gen Z couples.

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Yet, in spite of the stress a struggling economy is causing, 39% of adults polled said they avoid talking about money with their romantic partner. Krista Aliga, a financial advisor with Personal Capital, offered some smart tips for talking money with your significant other.

Keep the Money Talk Lighthearted

While finances are obviously a big deal, Aliga recommends keeping any money-related conversations casual. “I know that sounds counterintuitive, since money can get very emotional,” she said. “I think it’s important to be light-hearted and casual. You don’t have to dive into every single bill. Just start creating a non-judgmental space to have deeper conversations.”

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Focus on Financial Goals

In those first conversations, Aliga suggests focusing on the big picture — including long-term and short-term goals. “That will allow the conversation to be more of a visualization for each couple, allowing them to focus on what they want to do with their money,” she told GOBankingRates.

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If Something Bothers You, Speak Up

The Love & Money survey showed that honesty and equity are the most important traits in a partner. And that includes being fair and honest about money. “About one-third of those surveyed said it was a dealbreaker if one partner never or rarely paid for items,” Aliga said. “It all goes back to being open, honest, and transparent with your partner.”

If you feel as if you are doing more than your fair share in a relationship — and it’s causing undue stress — talk it out. You might discover your partner has debt they don’t want to talk about. “Breaking down barriers and creating a non-judgmental space to have those conversations is not only going to strengthen the relationship, but it could also help you support your partner,” Aliga remarked.

Once you discover the root of the problem, you can address it by thinking about ways to cut expenses — such as finding low-cost or free date night ideas, she elaborated.

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Have a Plan

Once you’ve opened the door to talking about finances, you want to keep the momentum going. “Focus on the purpose of your money conversations and know how often you should be speaking,” Aliga says.

Couples just starting out in discussing money might want to have a check-in once a week which, over time, could turn into a monthly conversation to discuss their budget, goals, and progress.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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