Questions To Ask Each Other About Money

Q: My girlfriend and I have been living together for two years. Everything is in both of our names, except our bank accounts, but we rarely ever talk about money without fighting. What can we do so that our relationship doesn't become a financial casualty?

A: Money is one of those topics that can create tremendous stress and tension in a relationship, especially if you have different views on how to spend and save. Our attitudes toward money affect the choices we make. Managing money together is about more than just paying your bills on time.

Conversations about money in a relationship force us to discuss our values, goals, habits, and even our mistakes. Since everyone's experiences are different, there's a good chance your attitudes about money will differ from your partner's. To avoid conflict, make sure you're both ready to start talking, then agree to some ground rules: No blame, no shame, no going through six months worth of financial records to prove a point. Plan a quiet time when the two of you can talk calmly, without a lot of distractions.

You don't have to agree on everything; start by looking for areas where you can compromise. Here are some questions that might be helpful:

  • How did your family talk about money?
  • How have your attitudes changed over the years?
  • What does having money mean to you (e.g. freedom, security)?
  • What are your views on goal-setting, paying bills, dealing with debt, saving, spending money and planning for retirement?

Developing ways to talk about money has real benefits for you and your partner. You'll spend less time arguing about money and more time working towards your financial goals. Planning a tropical vacation together is more fun than fighting about the credit card bills later.