How can I talk about money with my significant other? It is so awkward and uncomfortable. What should we have figured out before we get married?

July 10, 2014

Advisor answers

J Kevin Stophel

J Kevin Stophel


You are asking a great question! Some research estimates that over 80% of stress in marriage is related to finances. Having discussions early can help minimize financial stress, if a family operating frame work can be agreed upon. But, like you have mentioned, because finance can be an emotionally charged topic, it can be hard to address constructively.

When discussing finances, not everyone can handle the stress head on, so approaching the subject indirectly may be helpful. Eliciting information through open ended questions asking for...

Michelle Fait

Michelle Fait


The most important thing is that you do have a conversation about money. It only gets more complicated later on, so sorting things out now puts you on a more solid footing for the future. Facing your fears about the role of money in your life together might just alleviate a lot of the anxiety you're feeling now. You don't have to get everything figured out at once, but opening a dialogue is a good place to start.

You might try framing the discussion around joint goals, and how you want to take care of each other. That shift...

Guy Baker

Guy Baker


You are NOT alone in this problem. Most couples marry with no real understanding of the THREE biggest issues that will cause their relationship to rock n roll until they figure it out. One is money, the other two are sex and children. You can throw parents in there too.

Money is not the root of all evil. It is the LOVE of money. Most issues revolve around the issue of entitlement. These are feelings related to fairness and equity. One spouse wants no accountability for how they spend money - it grows on trees and somehow it will all wo...

So glad you are asking this question now instead of wishing you had asked it later!

Since you already realize how awkward and uncomfortable it can be, my guess is that you have thought about this a lot and/or tried to have the conversation, without success. This is perfectly natural - it is still difficult at times for my husband and me after 20 years of marriage!

Getting financial counseling before marriage can be as important as traditional marriage counseling. Maybe even more important, since money is the #1 cause of divorce, a...