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How to Talk Money With Your Honey

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You’ve shared just about everything (dreams, fears, even a toothbrush on occasion) with your significant other. But when it comes to talking about financial matters, mum’s the word. And sometimes, it’s not just that you don’t say anything—it’s that you deliberately try to hide something.

And you’re not alone. According to a recent study from the National Endowment for Financial Education, a third of people with combined bank accounts have been dishonest about money.

Money secrets can lead to financial fiasco, so both you and your paramour really do need to be forthcoming with each other about your wallets. To learn how to talk money with your honey and be more straightforward about these touchy topics, read on.

Debt

The average person currently has $4,878 in credit card debt, but yours is (ahem) quite a bit higher. Plus, you’re still paying off student loans and a car loan, too. Despite any embarrassing feelings you may have about your debt, you really do need to tell your significant other about it. Why? When you already have debt, it can affect your ability to borrow money in the future. So, for example, let’s say that you and your spouse plan to buy a house in a few years. If you have too much debt (or if your credit is poor as a result of your unpaid debt), you might not be able to get a mortgage. Or, if you do manage to land a loan, you may not get a very good interest rate.

Be upfront and share your full financial picture with your partner. In addition to detailing the amount of your debt, take the time to develop a plan for paying it off. You’ll both feel more comfortable about your financial situation if you’re in agreement about how to manage it.

Spending

It’s not uncommon for couples to fight about spending money—40% report having disagreements over holiday spending, according to a McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union poll, but it goes without saying that it’s not good to lie about something you bought, regardless of whether or not you have joint accounts.

While you don’t need to report what you spend every nickel and dime on, be willing to have regular money check-ins with your significant other. During that get together, share any out-of-the-ordinary expenses you might have accrued, along with any money concerns you may have. It’s also a good time to determine a plan for how you’re going to divide the cost of the household expenses and how you’re going to handle large purchases. There’s no one right way, so figure out what you both feel comfortable with. For example, can one party buy a costly electronic without talking to the other person beforehand?

Goals

Finally, don’t just talk about your past and current money situation, but also your financial future, too. Once you and your partner are on the same page about your money goals—both for the immediate future (new living room furniture) and later on in retirement (a second home, perhaps?)—you can implement the best plan to help you achieve them.

Image: jowiki

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