Even the strongest couples can experience tension when the topic of money presents itself. Money can bring hidden differences in opinions, priorities, wants, or needs to the surface. Though in all honesty, it can be pretty uncomfortable to talk about it with your partner.
However, avoiding the topic altogether will not solve any problems. Money touches every aspect of our lives since we need it for our daily living. We also require cash for well-deserved luxuries such as staycations or cruises.
It’s crucial to allocate the right amount of money towards expenses, savings, and splurges to thrive. And in a committed relationship, we cannot do it alone. That is why what you might need is a money date.
What is a money date?
Simply put, it is a date with money as the main highlight. Yes, we know it’s tough even to start. But Kathy Entwistle, the founder of Entwistle Partners, a financial specialist team, says that it gets more accessible and comfortable with every little step.
Having a constructive conversation with your partner about your monetary resources and financial goals can bring both of you to better wealth management and freedom in the future.
One of the best ways to have this conversation is to set up a time with your partner, just like how you would do for a typical date invitation. A scheduled time and safe space where you and your partner can talk openly and honestly about money issues is the first vital step to take.
When should we arrange for a money date?
You and your partner should begin having money dates when you are ready to build a future together or you’re moving towards a committed relationship.
However, even if you’re already married, it’s not too late to start. You know the famous phrase, right? Better late than never. Regular money dates are essential, so you can adapt to changing financial circumstances and chart your progress towards your current goals.
Why should you consider having one?
Mentally, don’t you agree that it’s easier to look forward to a date than a discussion? Scheduling a date ahead of time gives you and your partner time to reflect, get into the necessary mindset, and prepare yourself for potentially problematic money issues surfacing in your conversations.
A money date is also an apt time to gear yourself to discuss your values, goals, plans, and existing resources. Being willing to discuss any finance-related problems freely can help you and your significant other feel less stressed about the topic of money, in general, going forward.
Is there an ideal spot?
Unlike a traditional date, a money date requires an atmosphere conducive for serious discussions. It should be set at a time and a place where you and your partner can be comfortable and enjoy some privacy at the same time.
With that said, the latest cafe, rooftop bar, or restaurant may not be an ideal environment for a meaningful talk surrounding money. Your home can be the right place, and you could even choose to have your discussion over a glass of wine or a cup of tea to set the mood right.
If you have children at home, find a way to get privacy by considering dropping them off at your parents’ house for a few hours.
How do we kickstart the conversation?
Entwistle recommends that we begin with the bigger picture. These questions could guide both of you to find out what matters to you in life and the role of money in it:
- What are our priorities?
- Is it taking care of our parents?
- What’s important to you when it comes to money?
- Is it that you can provide for the family and put our children through university?
- Does it have to do with security? Or is it knowing that you have enough to “get by”?
If your priority is to pay off credit card debts, you may want to examine your debts and decide how to approach them systematically. On the other hand, should your partner’s aim be caring for his ageing parents, both of you may wish to set aside an agreed sum of money for this purpose.
Or it could also be that both of you have started thinking about saving up for retirement. If that’s the case, then the conversation could revolve around minimising unnecessary expenses and maximising saving opportunities.
What about financial stresses?
Having a negative net worth or financial struggles can be upsetting. This emotional distress can spill over into your money date. Thus, it is vital to avoid getting into an overly aggressive discussion on your first money date.
As you and your partner gradually move towards subsequent money dates, you know it’s probably a good time to focus on more specific details. This could surface one’s irrational fear about a particular area. From there, start digging deeper and decide if there’s a solution to work towards.
While it may feel uncomfortable to talk about money with your partner at first, it’s ultimately an essential thing to have. In fact, you might even surprise yourself by how easy it is to get into the flow of things. If you’ve yet to start, we urge you to consider taking that first step. It’s not as scary as you think it to be.