Love Means Talking to Your Partner About Finances

Feb 11, 2022

Talking about finances with others can be hard. For some, discussions about money can make us uncomfortable, no matter who the other person is. When it comes to talking to your significant other about finances, however, you shouldn't beat around the bush.

They say that love shouldn't cost a thing, and it doesn't have to if you and your partner can create a good dialogue regarding money. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, we want to share some helpful tips on how to talk to your significant other about finances—both individual and shared.

Below, we've come up with 3 ways you can start the conversation with your partner:

Talk about your goals.

While you might not want to discuss in-depth financial matters on a first date, once you and your partner become serious, it might be time to start discussing current and future financial goals, including:

  • Salary expectations in your current career
  • Upcoming career changes
  • When they plan to pay debts paid off
  • If they want to start a family, when would they like to become a parent?
  • Are there any big trips or large purchases they are planning?
  • At what age are they hoping to retire?
  • What are they currently doing to hit their financial goals for the future?
    • Are they investing?
    • How much do they contribute to their 401k?
    • Do they have a set budget?

Ask the tough questions.

For many couples, money can be a major argument. NPR says that these fights, however, can signal there are deeper problems in a relationship that have nothing to do with money. By having tough conversations with your partner about your joint and individual finances early on, you can help save yourself from conflicts down the line. Start with these conversation topics:

  • Accounts. Are you both going to maintain individual saving/checking accounts? Decide to combine your finances into joint checking and savings accounts?
  • Budgeting. Who will be in charge of your household budget? How much can your family put into savings each month? If one of you is more financially savvy or meticulous than the other, maybe it's best for that person to manage the budget. You should have frequent financial check-ins where one partner can walk the other through the state of your joint finances and you can adjust together.
  • Debt. How will you both manage any debt you have going into the relationship, or get into as a couple? This can be one of the toughest topics, because having debt is something that can weigh down your finances for a long time if you or your partner is not managing it properly. By discussing ways to pay it off, you can work together to get your finances back on the track to success.
  • Retirement. After you have discussed when you're both planning to retire, you should start thinking about some deeper questions, including:
    • Will one of you continue to work while the other settles into retirement? Or will you both continue to work until you can retire together?
    • Will you hold back on certain purchases or lifestyle changes, in order to have more to put into retirement?
    • Are there any purchases/changes that mean more to you than retiring at your set age, and do you feel they are worth the extra years of working you might have to put in?

Plan for the Future (Together).

Now that you have moved through the basic and difficult money topics, you can start to map out your joint financial plans for the future. Here are a few questions and topics to discuss together:

  • Where do you want to live?
  • Do you want to own a home or rent? If the plan is to rent, for how long?
  • How much will they want to save for bigger items like a wedding, vacations, etc.?
  • Is family planning something they are interested in?
  • Insurance matters
  • Are you both interested in investing?
  • How much of their savings will go into investments? 
  • Upgrading and/or downsizing their (or your) lifestyle

By having open and honest conversations with your partner about money matters as your relationship becomes more serious, you can create a financially successful future together.

Erin Elis 
Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union


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