If you’re dating someone you see a future with, talking about money is an important step in your relationship. While most couples try to avoid the topic of money altogether, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship, having the money talk early (and often) can help ensure you and your partner are on the same page — or at least heading in the same direction.
After all, you wouldn’t want to get engaged without knowing whether your partner has a budget in place or an outstanding debt that could become your own.
The money conversation gets a bad reputation for being awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Addressing money early on is one great way to keep you and your partner feeling comfortable in your relationship trajectory. Use the printables below to turn your money talk into a chance to get to know your partner better through fun games and conversation starters.
Turn Money Talk into a Date Night
While having the money talk is essential, you don’t want to spring it on your partner out of nowhere. You also don’t want to wait until a fight around money arises. Instead, consider scheduling a date night for you and your partner to talk about money. Let them know that you’ll be discussing finances, and ask them to come with any questions or concerns of their own.
You’ll want to schedule the date somewhere where you and your partner can have an open and honest conversation. Staying in is a great option, but if you do decide to venture out, pick somewhere quiet and intimate.
You can kick off your money date with this game of Never Have I Ever, which is a lighthearted and honest way to talk about past financial situations you and your partner may have been involved in.
Ease Into the Conversation
When talking about money, remember to tread lightly — especially at first. Most people have firm beliefs about finances, and you and your partner will probably have different views during certain money talk discussions. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to come up with a plan or solution for every potential financial problem right away.
You’ll want to consider where you are in your relationship before you tackle certain sticky situations. After all, you may not want to dive right into prenuptial agreements or retirement savings when you’ve only been seeing each other for a few months.
These conversation starters will let you ease into the conversation without heightened tensions. We’ve categorized these by relationship stage so you and your partner can easily decide what you feel comfortable discussing, and when.
Learn More About Your Partner’s Wants
People have different desires and expectations for what their life will look like in the future. While some people are determined to reach the peak of professional success, others prioritize family time and fun.
Understanding your partner’s preferences allows you to evaluate and manage expectations in your relationship early on. Would you be upset if your partner turned down a promotion in order to spend time at home? Conversely, would you be okay if your family took fewer vacations in order to afford a more expensive mortgage?
You can learn more about your partner’s preferences with this game of Would You Rather. Print out the sheet below for a fun and revealing activity about your partner’s wants.
Set Future Goals Together
Understanding your partner’s future plans is just as essential as learning about their financial past. This vision board craft will let you and your partner articulate your dreams and the steps needed to achieve them. While not every life goal is directly tied to growing your assets, almost every dream requires some sacrifice and money spent.
You and your partner should each fill out a vision board with two to three goals you hope to achieve over the next five years. Feel free to use colored pencils or markers to get more creative! Once you’ve both completed your sheets, share them with each other. Remember to ask your partner specific questions about their goals so they know you’re actively listening.
Acknowledge and Appreciate Your Differences
As you have the money talk with your partner, you’ll probably notice some differences in your attitudes towards finances. You’ll also likely have different priorities when it comes to spending and saving.
For example, you may not see the value in buying expensive workout equipment for the garage, and your partner may not agree with you spending a few hundred dollars on clothes every month.
These differences don’t mean there’s trouble in paradise: everyone has a different relationship with money and you don’t have to match up to your partner on everything. In fact, even big disagreements can be worked through with communication and compromise.
You may be a spender and your partner may be a saver, and that’s okay. Rather than tearing your partner down for their financial opinions, celebrate your differences with these appreciation cards. Write down things like “I love how you invest time, money, and energy into your health and body” to let your partner know you respect their goals and passions.
Make a Monthly Budget Tracker
If you and your partner are gearing up to take things to the next level, whether that be moving in together, getting engaged, or another relationship milestone, consider setting aside time during your money talk to prepare a monthly budget.
Our free budget tool lets you create a budget and then track your spending each month to see if you’re meeting your financial goals. You can also stay on top of shared bills and receive personalized tips and advice.
Remember that a budget isn’t written in permanent ink: you and your partner can learn and grow together and make adjustments when needed. Even if you aren’t combining finances yet, you can use this monthly budget as a mockup plan for the future.
While sometimes it may seem easier to avoid the money talk altogether, the best way to prevent future arguments over finances is to discuss money early and often. Remember that keeping conversations casual and positive as you learn about your partner’s relationship with money is key.
As your relationship progresses, so will your conversations around finances and how to work together to achieve your individual and shared goals. Check out our list of money talk dos and don’ts, and remember to celebrate financial victories big and small with your partner as you go.