Difficult Conversations – Talking Money with Your Spouse or Partner

how to handle conversations about money

Many couples avoid difficult money conversations, rather than honestly discuss their finances.

It seems like most all work days involve difficult conversations I would rather not have…. coaching an employee for bad behavior, telling a vendor they are not performing, sharing news people would rather not know, and making decisions that select the best of several imperfect decisions. I could go on, but won’t. So, when it comes to life at home, I would really prefer to a) not make any decisions because I have made so many during the day and b) not have any tough conversations. As we all know, that is impossible – we have tough conversations across all the hats we wear. That’s life.

At the start of my daughter’s 4th grade year, I decided to follow a friend of mine’s lead (she is an elementary school principal) and let my daughter know that if she makes all A’s this year, her iTouch would become an iPhone. This did not go over well with my partner. As you can guess, my daughter aced her 4th grade year. So, it was time to have that conversation. The compromise was a two-page written contract that our daughter signed, but my partner still was not thrilled.

Often conversations about marriage and money are difficult. In a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 68% of engaged couples had a negative attitude about talking money. In that poll 45% saw it necessary but awkward and 7% thought it may lead to a fight. Wow, money makes relationships and the world go ‘round!

You know those difficult conversations: What investment to make, what expense to delay, do we have money in the account? One unique conversation in our partnership was one of commitment – to have a ceremony, or to go to a state allowing marriage . We opted for a ceremony with symbolic importance, but no true rights. Now, we are looking at possible future interesting debates depending on where the Supreme Court nets out in deliberations about families like ours. We are waiting with anticipation to see what interesting conversations may lie ahead.

What difficult conversations are you leaning into?

Renee Brown

About Renee Brown

Renee Brown is the Senior Vice President and Enterprise Social Media Leader for Wells Fargo. She looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to Beyond Today, addressing the challenges non-traditional families face, as well as the issues that bind us all.
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