How to Talk Debt with Your Significant Other

By Alyssa Davies on October 28, 2016 No Comments
Man and women outside holding hands

Talking about finance is important, especially if you’re dating or married. But, the discussion on debt in a relationship can be overwhelming. Sharing financial details with your partner can save you from future money problems that will be too large to move past, and also allow you to find support in someone you trust and love.

There are many ways to inform your significant other about your debts, and not all of them are a “one size fits all” scenario. It is recommended that you do your best to clearly communicate your finances with one another as early as possible into a relationship.

Here are some no-fail ideas on how to talk money with your significant other:

  • Write a letter

If words aren’t your cup of tea, sometimes writing a letter is a good place to start. Even if you choose not to give this letter to your partner, or you decide to read the letter aloud to them, you are on the right path. Try to include your amount, what caused the debt, your plan of action, and suggest a time you can talk further if they aren’t ready to so now.

  • Book a date night

If talking finances seems boring, plan to make a date night out of it. Have a discussion about financial goals, financial fears, your family values regarding money, your successes with money, and the top three lessons you have learned from any debts. You may learn something new about your partner, including the fact that you both value similar ideas when it comes to personal finance.

  • Support one another

If you find out that your significant other is carrying a large amount of debt, you should try to be supportive of them during this stressful time in their life. Rather than taking on the task of paying off their debt for them (because that is not always the best answer), try to pass along your best spending and saving habits instead. Teach them motivating ways to save, create a financial timeline together, show them the big things they can be saving for.

  • Imagine this

As a couple, imagine that someone walked over to you and handed you $10,000 cash. What would you do with that money? Try to be realistic when visualizing all of the things you could do with this money. Would you put the entire amount towards your mortgage, would you pay off your student loans? Or would you take this opportunity to go on a well-deserved vacation? Make sure that you are on the same page when it comes to your financial goals.

Try to arrange a regular time each week or month where you can have a conversation about your finances and debts. Spending for a family can put you in a negative position quickly with a ton of unexpected expense, so knowing where your dollars are going can set you up for success. Being accountable to each other is important, and being forthright about it can make the discussions easier for both of you.

Once you get the wheels in motion, it no longer needs to be a huge discussion because you’re doing it on a regular basis. It can take a few minutes and you’ll be done. Money is personal and can seriously affect your relationships, so when it comes to finances, being honest is your best option.

Image Credit: Crew


Alyssa Davies

Alyssa is a freelance writer and founder of the personal finance blog, Mixed Up Money. She writes about overcoming personal debts, frugal habits, and has been working in communications at a not-for-profit organization for the past two years.

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