Sex, Politics, Religion and Money
There are many things that are considered “taboo” to talk about. Some people find it difficult to talk about those topics that may have conflicting views. Sometimes it’s religion, or sometimes its politics. However, we find that people much rather discuss these topics or even their intimate sex lives. But still do not discuss finances or money. Discussing money can become a very awkward conversation, and we are going to look at conversations couples should have about money, below.
How Does Money Make You Feel?
Conversations couples should have about money can become a very interesting and revealing when this is discussed with your partner or spouse. There are times we keep the money a secret, we keep it hidden. We hardly talk about it. We don’t talk about how much we make or how much we have. The topic of money or debt can make us feel guilty, or embarrassed. Money, or lack thereof, can keep us in abusive relationships, and it’s even harder to talk about it.
There is also the ongoing debate of wether or not a couple should combine finances. Should each partner in a relationship keep their accounts separate? In this post, entitled “Advice for Newlyweds: Marrying Your Money” at The Money Couple does a great job in looking at the trust, or lack thereof can cause apprehension of joining finances. It also talks about how a couple can make great strides when they have a unified front.
Money After Divorce
There is then the thought of dividing our finances when it comes to separation or divorce. This can open up all kinds of feelings and emotions. This is something I discuss in part one of own divorce journey here. The debate over how things may be “fair but not necessarily equal” and in most cases, who decides this? The couple? Lawyers? A Judge? What is or is not one “entitled” to or not?
Divorce can be a very stressful and emotional time to which we may not be of sound mind. We can be fearful, and uncertain if we can pay the bills and provide for our children. I share my own budge building and review of expenses in part two of my divorce journey here. Our reality can get a bit distorted, and we sometimes feel things may be more “mine” than “theirs” in some of these situations. And we may feel we’ve been wronged somehow, so we deserve this amount or that amount that is sometimes completely arbitrary.
At FinCon this year in Austin, TX I had the opportunity to be included in an awesome panel discussion. The discussion was entitled “The Dark Side of Couples’ Money”. We dove into questions about how to navigate some of those awkward money conversations. We had a kick-ass panel including Myself from Heavy Metal Money, Taylor from The Money Couple, JJ Conway and Jana moderated by the fabulous Athena from Money Smart Latina
Set Financial Goals & Priorities
We began by asking what conversations couples should have about money, or what questions couples should ask each other about money. I do think financial goals & priorities should be one of the conversations couples should have. For multiple reasons. To avoid surprises and unexpected expenses. But also, to determine what are goals short term and long term goals, and priorities. Is a priority to save for a downpayment for a home? Is it a car or going to school? Looking at goals and prioritizing those goals can help a lot. For example, maybe one of you is a fitness nut, and my gym membership or that Pelaton is important to me. That should be something that is communicated and prioritized.
Avoid Conflict by being Open & Honest
I have a good friend that feels that having their hair and nails done is very important. It’s important for their brand, and looking their best in meetings and representing their clients in business. I was told that the money that was used for this was in a secret account. In my opinion this should be talked about openly and honestly. If this is a priority, be transparent and make sure your spouse knows it, and you both are budgeting for it.
Money Discussions With Parents & In-Laws
Once we started to get some questions from the audience, and became more of an interactive discussion, the focus started to lean more of the uncomfortable money conversations that need to happen with our parents, or in-laws. We also had questions how to better plan and discuss if you are the ‘sandwich generation’ Not only are people in this generation caring for there children, but also their parents, all while struggling to plan for their own retirement. There can be resentment towards parents who had not been good with money, and poor at planning.
I think next year at FinCon22 we can have entire panel discussion the topic of estate planning and having those discussion with your parents. Let’s face it. We are all going to die. We are. Let’s have these planning discussions before it’s too late – And, let’s not forget when that unfortunate event happens of one passing, it can also lead to the act of dividing one’s assets. This can be among family members or children, or perhaps a previous spouse or partner.