It's important to talk about money with your partner

Effective communication about money is vital in relationships. Money is a significant aspect of life, and discussing it should be a natural part of a couple's dialogue.

Whether it's delegating financial responsibilities fairly, or simply accepting that you and your partner may have different attitudes towards money; these are conversations that can strengthen your financial life as well as your partnership.

In this video, HELENA WARDLE shares her own experiences and explains why – if you haven't yet talked to your partner about money – there's no time like the present.


Robin Powell:
Money is one of those issues that can cause couples to fall out. But it certainly doesn’t need to be. The key is to communicate effectively, and to find a way to manage your finances that suits you both. Here’s the author and financial planner, Helena Wardle.

Helena Wardle: I think it’s an obvious thing to say, but it’s such a big part of our lives: your money is funding your living costs, your money is funding your experiences, your money is funding your future together. So to me, for it not to be a subject that you talk about should, in itself, be questioned – because, actually, it forms a large part of your future together. And I think everyone brings different perspectives around money to the table. So, when you’re in a relationship, it’s going to be very rare that you’re completely in sync with your views of the world around money; and having conversations around money that are open, respectful, and talking about is incredibly important.

RP: Of course, some of us are more interested in personal finance and investing than others. But it really doesn’t make sense to delegate all financial responsibilities to your partner.

HW: It’s natural for one person to have maybe perhaps more of an interest in one area of life admin than another, and we all have different things that we procrastinate over! You can imagine some people would rather do anything else than sit down and do a budget, and I completely get that. It does feel like a life chore. But, actually, doing it together and having conversations together takes away a lot of the conflict that might happen afterwards. I think we can all relate to the arguments about money that we might have had with our partners, or feeling annoyed about something. And actually, if we pre-empt that by talking about things openly, you do create more of an open dialogue on that conversation element. And if you’re both more aware of your decisions and what you’re doing and having the right information to understand why it’s right for you both, that makes your decisions stronger and your commitment to your decisions a lot stronger.

RP: A key question to decide on at the start of a relationship is the extent to which you should combine your finances. Helena understands why some couples choose to pool all their money, but she can also see the value in keeping some money separate.

HW: I also think there’s a lot of value in retaining independence, to an extent. So I don’t necessary think it’s always right for everything to be pooled, I think it’s really important for people to still have their own autonomy in certain ways. But I think it’s about finding a system that works and that helps you work effectively with your money together as a couple. And for some people, that would mean splitting who pays what; pooling joint bills; or even having everything together but then understanding how they work with that within the things that are important for them – because we all want to spend our money in different ways perhaps, but we all have some collective decisions as well.

RP: We all want and need a degree of freedom and independence. So it’s important to cut your partner some slack and allow them to spend a modest amount of money on things you wouldn’t necessarily buy yourself. Helena Wardle has learned that from personal experience.

HW: Buying lottery tickets is an example. In my view, it’s the biggest waste of money – but my husband does it every week. It drives me mad! But, I understand that that’s something that he finds a lot of value in; and I think that is a really important thing to talk about as couples, so you accept that you bring different mindsets to it and, as a result, you’ll think of things differently. But speaking about it makes you more accepting of it.

RP: Again, the important thing is to communicate with each other. So, if you haven’t yet talked to your partner about money, there’s no time like the present to do it.