For many, talking about money doesn’t come naturally. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable to bring up in a conversation, but not talking about it, especially with your significant other, is often even worse. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips: 

Have the conversation early

Money is a leading cause of stress in relationships, which is why it’s important to have “the talk” early on in your relationship. Don’t wait for a money-related issue to come up to talk about your finances. Being open and honest with your partner about your finances will help you get on the same page when it comes to making decisions together down the road. 

Talk about shared expenses

Start by talking about how you’ll cover the check for date night and go from there. Whether you’re splitting the bill or taking turns, make sure you’re both in agreement on how you’ll handle shared expenses, even before you move in together. 

Share the responsibility

Don’t put the burden of financial decisions on one partner. You should be equal partners when it comes to money matters. If one person has total control, they assume all of the risk. 

Set goals together

Talk about your financial goals and work together to achieve them. Maybe one of you wants to work on improving your credit and the other is paying down student loan debt. Knowing what is a priority for each person will allow you to support each other while working together towards these goals. It will also help you align on big financial decisions that may come in the future, like purchasing a car or home together. 

Be transparent

You’re entitled to privacy (don’t feel like you need to print a copy of your bank statement each month), but you should share information openly. If  you have a joint account, decide together on how much you each contribute and what expenses that account will cover.