Can we talk about our money, please?
It’s good to talk. But talking about money can be difficult, particularly as doing so has traditionally been taboo in this country. Despite many of us getting better at talking about other personal issues like relationships or our health, we still find money a tricky topic.
In fact, research shows that only one in five UK adults has someone they feel they can confide in about money. But talking about money is a key step towards managing your money well and if we’re feeling good about our money we feel better about life in general. So if you have a partner and you are both involved in running the household, make a point of talking to each other about money matters. Here are some top Do’s and Don’ts to get you started:
DO find time together to talk about money
Weekly, fortnightly, monthly . . . it’s up to you. Just don’t do it over breakfast if you’re rushing to get to work or the kids to school. Don’t do it late at night when you’re both tired. It’s important that both of you have a general idea of the family’s finances. Are there any big expenses coming up? How much is in your bank account?
DO remember that two people rarely see eye to eye on money
Just because you might argue over money, and most couples do, it doesn’t mean that your relationship is heading for the rocks. Some people are savers and some are spenders. But just because you have completely different attitudes to money and one ‘squirrels’ money away and the other is a ‘shopaholic’, doesn’t mean you can’t work to find some middle ground.
DO view money as a means to an end
Managing your money isn’t about spending as little as possible, never being overdrawn, or building up a nest egg that you’re not allowed to touch. It’s about spending your hard-earned cash on the things you need, want and enjoy, and setting and respecting financial goals for the things you both feel strongly about.
DON’T avoid talking about money until it’s too late
If you think it’s going to end in an argument, it’s tempting to bite your tongue. But leaving it too long can turn molehills into mountains. Find time to talk about money issues when you’re both relaxed, and don’t spring a big money talk on your partner by surprise.
DON’T go on about money all the time
Your life isn’t an episode in a money help show on TV or a TV soap. So, even if you’re determined to take control of your finances, it’s not good to go on about it all the time. Put your family life first and only talk about money during the times you’ve set aside.
We’re all better at doing things when we have something to aim for. Things like balancing your budget, building up an emergency fund, buying or leasing a car, saving for a holiday or a deposit on a house, or putting money into a pension or a Junior ISA. Just make sure that you sit down with your partner – and your financial planner when appropriate – to plan together how you can achieve what’s most important for you and your family.