Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. For those coupled-up, rather than dropping cash on stuffed bears, chocolates or roses this year, why not use this Hallmark holiday as a chance to talk to your partner about money?
Talking about your finances is sometimes a difficult conversation to start, no matter who it’s with, but that’s not an excuse to avoid it!
To kick you off, Kirsty Lamont from comparison site mozo.com.au has shared three painless ways to broach the subject of money with your significant other this Valentine’s Day.
“If you had $1 million what would you do with it?”
This might seem silly, but a hypothetical like this can help you to see what your partner’s financial priorities are and how compatible they are with your own.
If their answer is that they’d immediately go on a round-the-world trip and buy a new sports car, while yours is to pay off credit card debt and tuck some away as a nest egg, there’s a disconnect there that needs to be addressed.
Try gently suggesting alternatives, for example, “I can see why you’d say that, but what about…” The nice thing about this starter is that by making it a hypothetical situation, you can ease into a discussion without anyone getting defensive if their answer is challenged.
“How do you see us spending our retirement?”
This is a fun way to start a conversation about making financial plans and setting goals as a couple.
Start off by mapping out your ideal retirement years – whether that’s travelling far and wide, or gardening in a backyard of your own.
After that gentle start, you can then lead into a conversation about how you’ll get there. For example, “I really want to own our own place by then – let’s talk about how much we’ll need to save to make it possible.” Then you can start making plans to maximise your super, build up a nest egg or diversify your income sources.
“How do you think we’re doing financially at the moment?”
Sometimes, the best way to open a conversation with your partner, is simply to ask the question. But mentioning something directly to your partner can make them feel like you’ve sprung the conversation on them when they weren’t prepared.
To avoid this, start by asking them what they think about the situation. This opens the door for them to share their opinion first, without feeling like you’re being aggressive or accusatory. You can then follow it up with, “Well, I’ve noticed…”
Starting with this question can lead into a discussion of many aspects of your finances, from your partner spending a little too much, through to whether or not you should take the home loan plunge.
Kirsty Lamont is a Director at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. She is passionate about helping Australians get a better money deal and helping them make better, more informed choices.