In the mood for a money talk? Yeah, we know. It's hardly on the top of anyone's list. But the task does fall somewhere between teaching the kids the birds 'n' bees and remembering to give the dog its heartworm pill.
"Not now, honey. I've got a headache" is just one of the excuses people use to avoid this prickly topic. So how do you raise the issue, especially with a partner who would rather avoid it, without ruining your weekend?
As couples told us in Couples & Cash: How To Handle Money With Your Honey, it's all about make-up nookie. Just kidding. But a successful money talk must be linked with rewards. One great way to lure a reluctant partner into a dreaded money talk is to relate the topic to something he or she cares about.
Consider how Robert (a "saver") inspired his wife Elizabeth (a "dreamer") to think about budgeting. Elizabeth explains:
"I've been itching to plan our next mega-vacation. Robert resisted my enthusiasm, saying that, as new parents, we should focus on more serious things. To get me excited about budgeting (blah!) and saving receipts (ick!), he conceded that we just might be able to save toward another European trip, albeit a few years off. Voila! I am all about budgeting right now."
Think about the goodies that excite you and your loved one. Chances are, some will require a bit of cash to come to fruition.
When you do start talking, consider setting a few ground rules, such as:
- Agree to try -- managing your household finances is a two (or more)-person job.
- Accept equal responsibility for changing your lives.
- Don't play the blame game. No fair bringing up past financial indiscretions. Make this conversation all about setting yourselves up for a sweet future.
- Be honest and realistic about your financial situation.
- Take a break if your conversation becomes heated and unproductive.
We promise that the conversations will flow more easily once you start. As far as the details of managing money matters for two, don't stress: We've got you covered in our free guide to managing money with your mate. The only thing you need to do now is make a date with your honey.
More reading for twosomes:
This article originally ran in February 2006. It has been updated. The Fool has a disclosure policy.