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How to talk to your partner about money

AD – Blog post shared as part of a paid collaboration with Zopa Bank.

Money can be a really difficult thing to talk about, especially when you know the conversation you want to have with someone may lead to conflict or stress. But it’s really important that we learn to open up conversations around money with our partners sooner rather than later to build healthy relationships. 

There are many reasons why talking about money with your partner can lead to conflict such as:

  • You have different views on money likely due to coming from different financial backgrounds. 
  • You have different spending habits and financial priorities.  
  • One or both of you are stressed about any debts or the number of expenses that you have each month.
  • One or both of you struggle to make enough money to pay your bills on time. 
  • One or both of you spends money on something the other doesn’t agree with that can cause friction in your relationship.

If any of the above resonates with you then read on for some tips on how to talk about money with your partner in a productive way.

We’re big believers in talking more openly about money so that’s why we’ve teamed up with Zopa Bank, one of the UK’s leading digital banks, who are leading the way in the #LetsTalkMoney conversation. It’s important we let you know that some of the links in this post are sponsored. #ad

How to talk to your partner about money in 5 simple steps:

Talking to your partner about money can be stressful, but following these tips can make the process a whole lot easier and help avoid arguments:

1. Don’t surprise them with this chat

Instead of pulling your partner for a chat out of the blue and taking them by surprise when you want to talk about money, give them a heads up. Let them know a day or two in advance that you want to have a conversation about money and, be specific about what you want to discuss, i.e. how you are going to manage bills this month or discussing your savings goals.

One key tip… Let them know they don’t need to worry about the conversation too. Often conversations on sensitive topics can spark anxiety so reassure your partner that the only reason you want to have this conversation is to build better communication in your relationship.

2. Get in the right frame of mind for the chat

Avoid starting any important conversation when you are stressed or in a bad mood as this will impact how well the conversation goes. Find a private space for your chat where you feel comfortable enough to talk openly. This could be your sofa, the kitchen or perhaps even a coffee shop. Go into the conversation with an open mind. It’s very likely that you won’t agree with everything your partner says about the topics you discuss, so be prepared to listen to their point of view before jumping to any conclusions.

One key tip… if you feel really nervous talking about money to your partner, it may be a good idea to suggest going for a walk as you talk, or even going for a drive. It’s sometimes easier to open up more when you don’t have to look straight at the other person. 

3. Start with open questions

Easing into the conversation is the best way to get started when approaching a difficult topic. Try questions such as:

  • How are you feeling about money right now?
  • What money goals do you have for this year?
  • How can we work together to help each other achieve our goals?
  • What’s your money situation right now?

One key tip… have a read of other Zopa’s Money Stories, so you can get clued up on different financial situations before approaching the conversation with your partner. The more you understand about personal finance the easier you’ll find it to ease into a conversation with your partner. 

4. Respect and connect with your partner whilst talking

Even if you don’t agree with them, listening to your partner’s views and points, without interruption is the absolute minimum you should do in a conversation about money. Allow them to get their points across and show interest in what they have to say. When it comes to your turn to speak, try not to put their ideas down, or patronise them. 

The more you listen the more you’ll be able to start talking proactively about your next steps with your money.

One key tip… use “I” statements to communicate how you feel, what you think and what you want or need. Try to avoid “you” statements as it can sound argumentative. Say “I’m having a hard time communicating my anxiety around money to you right now” instead of “You’re not listening to me/seeing my point of view”

5. Create a financial plan together

Now that you’ve had an open conversation around money, it’s time to agree on a plan of action moving forwards. It might be that you have agreed to split your bills differently, or agreed to take responsibility for different money matters, or that you’ll look to seek additional help, or open a new account to manage your financial situation better. Whatever the outcome of your conversation, make sure you are both aware of who needs to do what as a next step! You may even want to plan another time to have this talk again in a month or two.

One key tip… if you or your partner are worried about your financial situation you could benefit from using Zopa Bank ‘s Borrowing Power tool. Borrowing Power gives you a clear view of how Zopa see your financial health with a simple 1 – 10 rating – with 10 being that your financial health is in good shape. But if you’re not a 10, it’ll give you personalised tips on what you need to do to improve your score over time. It’s free to use in their free app

Final thoughts: 

It’s perfectly ok and completely normal for you and your partner to have differing views on managing money. Productive conversations about money come from communicating openly and honestly about how you’re feeling about money, including both the challenges and wins you are facing.