Many couples say money is the number one topic they argue about — and the second leading reason for divorce. So, while it’s far more romantic to discuss plans for building a family or buying your first home, taking the time to discuss and establish your money goals upfront can be an important step in creating a financially secure and happy life together.
Sure, “the money talk” may feel awkward at first, but when done well, it can positively impact your connection with your partner.
How to take the awkward out of your money talks:
- Start early: If possible, start the money talks before you get married, to ensure it becomes an important and regular aspect of your relationship.
- Ensure open and honest communication: Have an open and honest dialogue with your partner about your current financial situation. It’s important not to hide debts or other financial obligations (like student loans or credit card debt) from your partner. You can also start discussing your future goals and aspirations and your money mindset: Are you a saver or a spender? Being honest about money matters early on, can help reduce financial stresses down the road.
- Create a joint budget: Once you understand each other’s financial situations, and goals, create a budget together. You can start managing your finances as a team. Include all your sources of income and expenses, such as rent, utilities, transportation, food, entertainment, savings and an emergency fund.
- Set financial goals together: Once you have a budget, set your financial goals together. Whether it’s paying off student debt, saving for a down payment on your first home or contributing towards your retirement fund, can help you work towards common goals, staying motivated and on track.
- Consider a prenuptial agreement: While talking about money already isn’t super-romantic, discussing prenuptial agreements may kill the mood if not done right. Approaching it from a pragmatic lens of reducing future conflict or uncertainty may help keep emotions at bay. Prenuptial agreements can be helpful to both partners. If, for example:
- One or both parties have children from a previous marriage
- One partner has significantly more assets than the other
- One or both parties have significant financial obligations coming into the marriage
When emotion and uncertainty are removed from the equation, both parties will quickly see the value of a prenup. Nobody enters a marriage thinking it will end, but should that sadly happen, there is clarity on how the assets will be divided, potentially saving both partners in legal fees.
Discussing financial issues can be challenging in any relationship, but strong marriages are built on open and transparent communication. That applies to your money and how you manage it together. Making the money talk a priority, by setting aside time to discuss your current finances and future goals, can help set your marriage on a secure financial footing for years to come.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.