Few things can sow discord quite like debt. And though debt is bad enough to deal with on your own, living with heavy debt while in a serious relationship can be even more excruciating. After all, no one wants to talk about their money problems with their partner –– or anyone –– for that matter. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s crucial for all long-term partners and married couples to be on the same page about their financial standing. In order to help you have these potentially difficult conversations, make sure to check out our top five tips for talking about debt with a loved one:
Assess the Situation
Before you start talking about debt-management ideas or looking into debt-forgiveness programs, the first thing you should do is assess your current situation. Determine how much debt you have, and figure out what bills constitute a priority for you. Doing so before you speak with your partner will give you a decent place to start.
Do Your Homework
Do you know what a fixed-rate mortgage is? How about what an unsecured loan is vs a secured loan? If you don’t, then make it a point to educate yourself before discussing finances. Simply understanding some basic terminology can keep you from making serious financial missteps.
Trying to sugarcoat a rough financial reality isn’t going to benefit either you or your partner. So don’t be afraid to be honest with your loved one about the need to budget more carefully.
Don’t Make Accusations
Successful partnerships are built on trust and communication. As such, it’s a bad idea to enter into a conversation about your joint financial futures when you’re in a foul mood. It can be very easy to accuse your significant other of making poor choices with money. Resist this temptation. Instead of starting an argument, look for proactive solutions to issues rather than attempting to assign blame retroactively.
Hold Regular Money Talks
If you and your partner never talk about money, then bringing it up is naturally going to be awkward. Given that fact, it’s important to speak about money as often as you feel necessary. That way, neither of you will feel uncomfortable about bringing up a financial issue. Remember, the more you communicate and stay on top of your budget, the better.
Part of being in a long-term relationship entails doing things you don’t enjoy for the good of another person. And while it’s certainly not fun to deal with debt, doing so with your partner in the room is for the best. Happy couples make it a point to do everything important together. One day that might be visiting a local STD clinic, and the next a financial advisor’s office, for instance. Regardless, communicating is key to maintaining marital bliss even during financial uncertainty.