The OZ

Article - source: The OZ

Help! My partner and I hate to talk about money

14 November 2022

It's Money Monday at our house, and soon it could be at yours too.

Money. It’s up there with sex, politics, and religion when it comes to the list of topics that used to be taboo to talk about.

But the world’s changed and we’re changing with it. Money is having a moment. Personal finance podcasts dominate the charts and there are thousands of people on Facebook every day sharing their own tips and tricks. Financial experts have celeb status and there are more than 2.4 million Instagram posts with the hashtag personal finance.

Even with all of that hype, it can still be hard to know where to start. 

In fact, new NAB research shows one in two Aussies don’t sit down regularly to look at their finances and one in three say money is a source of conflict in their relationship.

It gets particularly interesting when looking at Gen Z and younger millennials. A massive 63% of women aged 18 to 29 say money is a source of stress in their life, while more than half of young men that age say they have a very different attitude to money than their partner.

My clients raise money as a topic regularly. Even though it can be one of the hardest topics to talk about, particularly in a relationship, it’s one of the most important.

Finding 45 minutes a month to sit down with your partner and spend time with your money is critical. Try to make it a date and find one ‘Money Monday’ a month and pop it in your diary.  When the day arrives cook a nice meal and turn your phones off.

It’s important to set some boundaries at the start. Think about being open and honest, curious about each other’s views and respectful.

No one is right or wrong. Just different.

Begin the conversation with a trip down memory lane by going back to your childhood. Often our financial beliefs and behaviours are shaped from a very young age and you might remember how our parents talked or behaved with money.   

Understanding this about yourself or your partner helps you understand your similarities and differences so you can create healthy financial plans together. Ask questions like what did you save or spend your money on growing up and what’s the one thing you wish your parents told you or didn’t tell you about money as a kid?

Next, come back to today. Ask questions like what money concerns do you have, what are three things you’d buy if you had endless money and how important are financial goals?

Finally, get really personal. It’s important to know the numbers even if it feels awkward or confronting. Put it out there – your salary, incoming and outgoing expenses, debts and loans. Talk about your approach to managing money. Are you a spender? Saver? Budgeter? How do you feel about joint finances? Can you reduce spending?

Now the good stuff. Whether it’s a holiday (#wanderlust), saving for a home deposit, or paying off debt, create something exciting to work towards. This will keep you motivated and aligned on your goals.

Talking about money and introducing Money Mondays into your life is like building a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it’ll be. You’ll no doubt uncover diverse views that will lead to some very interesting conversations. Be curious about these differences to find your way forward.

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