How to Have a Conversation About Finances with Your Partner

As much as we'd like to believe that love conquers all, the reality is that money can make or break a relationship.

A recent study by Intuit Credit Karma found that Gen Z and millennials are breaking up with their partners over money.

At the same time, more than a third of Gen Z and millennials think it’s okay to leave talking about finances until they’ve reached a major milestone in their relationship (like moving in together or getting engaged).

The Link Between Finances and Relationships 

When it comes to relationships, money matters. How we handle our finances can have a major impact on our lives, our sense of security, and our relationships. In fact, financial stress is one of the biggest sources of tension in relationships, and it can lead to arguments, mistrust, and even breakups. 

The top three financial issues that lead to breakups are different spending habits, debts and loans, and not being able to save enough. These issues can be particularly challenging for young adults, who are often grappling with student loans, entry-level salaries, and high living costs. 

But the good news is that by having open and honest conversations about money, couples can prevent these issues from becoming major roadblocks to their relationships. 

How to Have a Conversation About Finances with Your Partner

Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, Intuit QuickBooks customers and Brooklyn Tea “couplepreneurs” Jamila Wright & Alfonso Wright dedicate time weekly to discuss finances – a time they coined as Money Mondays.

“There is an honest feedback loop we know we need to express to each other when dealing with money or we can’t grow our business. Jamila and I are willing to listen to or to admit when a financial choice wasn’t the best. That exercise alone makes each of us more humble as a partner and builds our capacity to be an active listener and learner.”

Here are some tips for having a productive and positive conversation with your partner:

  1. Understand your own money mindset: Before having a conversation about money with your partner, it’s important to take a step back and understand your own money mindset. Your personal money mindset drives the decisions you make about saving, spending, and managing debt. Just like your personal style and what you think you can wear or not wear, your money mindset includes what you think you can and can’t do with money. Identifying your money mindset can help you communicate more effectively with your partner.

  2. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements: Avoid blaming your partner for financial issues or using accusatory language. Instead, use “I” statements to express your thoughts and feelings. For example, “I feel frustrated that you missed paying the utility bill” versus “You always miss deadlines for paying our bills.” This can help create a more collaborative and constructive conversation.

  3. Be respectful of individual financial histories: Everyone has a unique financial history that shapes their experience with money. Did your partner’s parents never discuss money? Did they overuse their credit to portray wealth? Be respectful of your partner’s experiences, whether they involve financial struggles, successes, or mistakes. These experiences can influence their current attitude toward money, so it’s important to acknowledge and respect them.

  4. Don’t make assumptions: Try to avoid making assumptions about your partner’s approach to money. Instead, ask open-ended questions that encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. This can help you better understand where they’re coming from and find common ground.

  5. Make time for regular check-ins: Having a one-time conversation about finances isn’t enough. Make time for regular check-ins with your partner, whether it’s weekly or monthly. This can help you stay on track with your financial goals and make sure that you’re both on the same page.

Finances don’t have to be a source of tension or conflict in your relationship. Make sure to keep the conversation going and be proactive about managing your finances as a team.

Whether you’re saving for a house, paying off debt, or investing in your future, discussing finances as a team can bring you closer and strengthen your relationship in the long run.


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