Time to propose that you and your loved one have that crucial conversation
Money impacts every aspect of our lives, from where we live to how we spend our time. Yet, in some circles, talking about money is considered taboo.
The good news is that stigma seems to be changing.
The 5th annual Love and Money survey from TD Bank revealed that 64% of couples talk about money with their significant other at least once a week.
Millennials tend to talk about money more, with 94% having financial discussions at least once a month, while 87% of Gen Xers and 82% of people ages 55 to 72 broach the topic just as often.
One way that couples are making it easier to talk about money with each other is by scheduling frequent 'money dates.' Here are some things to consider when planning a money date with your spouse or partner.
Commit to Regular Meetings
Consult your calendars and decide on a regular schedule for your money dates. You may want to meet weekly or twice a month at first, then scale back to once a month, as you become more comfortable discussing your finances.
Your meeting may run anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on what you need to discuss. Just try to block out some time where you can and eliminate distractions. Don't try to have meaningful money talk while watching TV, getting the kids ready for bed or scrolling through social media.
To make your money date something to look forward to, try having it at a local coffee shop or even at home over a glass of wine.
Create an Agenda
Every money date needs a clear focus and a list of topics to discuss. A good place to start is to consider your goals.
- Refining your budget: Review your income and expenses for the month, paying close attention to any areas where you've been going over budget. Regular overspending in a particular category may indicate you need to work harder in that area. On the other hand, it could mean your budget isn't realistic, and you need to decrease spending in another area to allocate it here.
- Increasing your savings: Your money date is the perfect time to check in on savings goals. After reviewing your budget and account balances, consider whether you can increase automatic transfers to savings to reach your goal faster.
- Paying off debt: If you're working on getting out of debt, review your progress in this area. Consider whether you can afford to increase your monthly payments to pay off debt faster.
Address Things Early
Your money date is also a good opportunity to talk through any immediate concerns or pressing issues. Talk to your significant other about any money-related struggles you're going through at the moment and assign financial chores to each spouse, such as finding a new financial advisor or adjusting automatic transfers to savings. Raising these issues early on can help prevent them from escalating later down the road.
Keep an Open Mind
Remember to keep the conversation positive. Consider starting each money date by complimenting your significant other for a recent fiscal decision that proved wise.
Keep the conversation upbeat and try to avoid lectures about spending or past financial decisions. Instead, focus on your goals and the best way to reach them together. Since your ultimate goal is to build a stable financial future for you both, the best way to do that is with open, honest and regular communication.