Contributed by Tanya S.

Talking about money with your partner can be very stressful.  This is especially true if your partner is making financial decisions without your input.  Your talk can turn into an argument that can last for days or a repetitive one that last for years. Here are some ideas to lower the stress level.

Calm down.  If you come at them guns blazing, they will act defensively. You need to cool down and talk calmly so they will listen to what you have to say.  Practice the conversation when you are on your own or talk it through with a friend (or counselor) to see how best to say what you need to say. Remember to avoid words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ when you have your chat.

Explain your concerns. Be honest with your partner, giving specific examples of when you have been upset by their spending habits and what worries you the most. For example, if you grew up in a family where money concerns were an issue, share that with them.  Instead of blaming your partner (“you are so irresponsible,” “you don’t care”) use statements that focus on how you feel such as, “I feel frustrated when …” “I’m worried about the future because …” and so on.

Listen to your partner.  Remember your partner has their own perspective so give them the chance to talk about what it’s like for them. Since they listened to you, give them the same respect and listen to them. You may think you know why they are spending but you do not know what is going on in their head.  Listen to them when they offer an explanation.  Be sure not to belittle their reasoning; be compassionate.

Develop a plan.  Now that you have discussed the problem, put a plan into action.  You may have good money habits, but not everyone else does.  Most people do not know how to budget, or track their spending.  If they spend too much money socializing, maybe they should go out less often. If they spend too much on lunch at work, suggest they pack their lunch. Offer to help them create a budget, introduce the idea of ‘fun’ money to spend as they feel so they don’t feel stifled or as if they are being treated like a child.

What are your tips to talking about money with your partner? We invite you to comment in the box below.