Making Money Romantic

December 16, 2021
Avril Liljekvist

“Darling,” I whispered seductively, “Would you like to come in and see my spreadsheets?”

Double entendres aside, there comes a time in a relationship where it's healthy to sit down and talk about finances. Exactly when that happens is dependent on the seriousness of the relationship, the urgency of the conversation, and to a great extent, the level of comfort between the participants. Sometimes we tackle it early on when our lives are relatively separate and the conversation is focused around splitting the bill, but for some of us, we might not have a serious discussion about finances until after we've already moved in with our significant other.

Many of us find it uncomfortable talking about practical things when we feel like our relationship is based on more important principles like mutual love and respect. That can mean that we leave it until there's a crisis before we take the plunge. Can we make a potentially boring or difficult conversation sizzle with romance?

Choose your moment

It's hard to be romantic when you're stacking the dishwasher, or flossing your teeth, right? We need to pick the moment. Choosing the right time to have the conversation is a great starting point, and making time for it is even better. Scott Pape of The Barefoot Investor, recommends a monthly date night for the sole purpose of discussing finances.

Setting time aside to have this conversation shows that it's important to us, and letting our partner know in advance gives them time to consider what they'd like to talk about. With regular scheduling, we can establish a rhythm of planning and reflection which tackles problems before they become insurmountable and we get to spend time with the person we love while we do it.

Tackle it as a team

Finances, like all relationship conversations, shouldn't be a “zero-sum” game. Solutions which are based on the assumption that one person wins and the other loses, or rely on a compromise which satisfies neither party, aren't what we want here. An adversarial approach might work when we're weeding out potential partners, but when we've found the one we're sticking with, it's time to reframe our position.

It's incredibly romantic to position ourselves alongside our partners, working together to a greater purpose and investing financially in a shared future, whether that be short term or long term. It doesn't have to be a mortgage to be meaningful – saving for a holiday together is a great way to reinforce mutual goals and priorities.

It's not about the Money

It's important to remember that what we really want to focus on isn't the money itself. Money is

almost always a stand-in for something else – the freedom to travel, the ability to support a family, or even the ability to work in a job that we love, rather than one which pays better. Understanding our partner's relationship to money, what their aspirational goals are, what they value and what they spend on, is a part of getting to know them better.

If studies show that it's how we spend, save and think about the money that determines how much happiness it brings us, conversations with our partner about finances can yield a lot of information if we dig a little deeper than just the basics of their bank balance. What could be more romantic than really getting to know the person we love?

Setting time aside to talk with our partner about money creates so many opportunities to shore up the emotional side of our relationship while taking care of the practical things. We're showing them how valuable their perspective is to us, and we're sharing our own goals and vulnerabilities. And at the end of the day, we're working towards a future together that meets both of our needs. Longer lasting, but just as romantic as red roses and chocolates.

*The information provided in this article is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a financial decision, please assess the appropriateness of the information to your individual circumstances and consider seeking professional advice.

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