(BPT) - For most people, personal finances are a private matter. When you are in a relationship, it can be difficult to discuss this typically taboo subject. Whether you have been married for years or are just beginning to date, fear of your partner judging your financial choices (big or small) runs deep.
Money challenges can create stress and cause walls to form in a relationship. Financial conflicts have even worse repercussions. Tackling the topic head-on can lead to a deeper understanding of each other’s financial history, emotions and goals for the future.
In fact, talking about personal finance, while not a particularly romantic topic of conversation, builds intimacy in any relationship, according to Amanda Clayman, financial therapist and Prudential’s financial wellness advocate.
Amanda shares the following simple advice to help partners navigate this challenging conversation.
Turn back the clock: Ask your partner about their earliest memories of money. Our relationship with money begins at a young age, and can shape a person’s feelings about wealth (or lack thereof). Talk about money related events that took place in your childhood, the lessons you learned from your parents or other adults, and the way it made you feel.
Explore your money languages: Most couples are familiar with the “Five Love Languages,” which explain how people interpret and show affection in different but equally valuable ways. The same goes for money styles. Everyone approaches spending, saving and managing their money uniquely. Learn about your partner’s preferred strategies without judgment and tell them about yours.
Prepare for differences: Setting realistic expectations going into this conversation is vital for a positive outcome with your partner. You may discover your money style is entirely dissimilar from your partner, which is still progress because what we perceive as conflict is often a pathway toward greater understanding. Resist the urge to pressure your partner into seeing your own view of money and discuss how you can split responsibilities so that you are both comfortable with your financial responsibility.
Don’t stop: This should be the first of many future conversations about money as a part of your overall wellness. Just as you’d periodically check in about your partner’s work, family and health, make a point of asking how they feel financially. With time and consistency this conversation will get easier as your relationship grows.
While it’s easier for many of us to avoid money conversations, it is actually one of the most intimate and emotional pillars in a relationship. When you take a proactive approach, you remove the taboo and help build a strong partnership and better understanding of each other’s finances.
For more information, and tools for investing in your financial wellness and establishing healthy financial habits, visit Prudential.
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