Talking about finances can muster up all sorts of stress and emotions. However, it is a necessary step in any relationship, especially if you plan on marrying the other person. Though it may seem overwhelming, if you plan in advance, stay on track, focus on the future, and follow these three steps, you can make the process as painless as possible.
Step 1: Prepare
The first step towards talking about your financial history with your fiancee is to plan out a time and place to discuss it. You don’t want to surprise each other with randomly asking about recent financial transactions, which will only lead to chaos. Here are some key tips to preparing a time to talk about finances with each other:
– Create financial balance and history sheets: Have both of you create a brief excel document with listed balances and history of your debit and credit accounts. From there, you can both compare your financial health and determine how to handle it.
– Schedule a time to talk: Plan out a few hours a day to talk about your financial strength and how to handle any money problems you both may be facing. Remember, you never need to hide anything from each other, and it’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable talking about money at first.
– List a financial agenda: Make a list on a secure word document on your computer on financial concerns that both of you need to tackle. Use this agenda to better strengthen your financial history with each other.
Step 2: Have “The Talk”
Now that you have prepared for your chat, it is time to actually talk. Begin by talking with each of your financial goals; this should be the focus of your talk. Admit to any mistakes you may have made and be understanding when your partner tells you their mistakes. Try not to be judgmental but instead focus on your future goals. Make a plan to reach your goals and set time aside to regularly chat about finances. Since this is your first talk with your fiancé about your financial history, here are a few additional tips.
– Don’t hold anything back: Do you have a lot of credit card debt or any bad credit loans? Tell your partner about them and everything else. Be open and honest about your situation so you can both work together to rectify them.
– Ask questions: If you do not understand something that your partner is saying, don’t be afraid to ask them questions. After all, communication is key in any good relationship.
– Discuss any obstacles you may face when trying to reach your goals: We mentioned above that you should set future financial goals, but you must also be realistic. Think about all the things you want to accomplish and anything that may affect those goals.
– Work through your whole agenda: We mentioned above that it may be helpful to create a financial agenda for your discussion. Make sure you touch on every topic.
– Be mindful of each other’s feelings: Finances and emotions are closely related so this conversation may get a little heated. Just be sure not to leave the conversation with hurt feelings. Try spending some quality time together after your talk or do something romantic.
Step 3: Plan for Your Future
Now that you both have talked about your financial situations, it’s now time to start planning for the future. This means creating new financial goals and creating a savings account if you haven’t already. Even if you both have a lot to do to get your finances on track, there’s no harm to planning early.
Financial planners suggest that you should save 20 percent of your income, putting 10 percent towards your savings and the other 10 percent towards your retirement. If either of you has debt, only plan to spend 70 percent of your income and use 10 percent of your leftover paycheck to pay off your debt. Trust us when we say you will never regret these financial savings.
Finances can be a tricky subject, especially if you find yourself struggling with debt. However, the best person to talk to when handling these finances is your fiancée. After all, you are marrying them, you’re going to have to settle finances between each other eventually. You just have to ask yourself, what’s stopping me?