For many couples, talking about money is not always the easiest discussion even in the best of times. During periods of economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, the conversation can be even more challenging. Here are some suggestions that can help make the discussion go more smoothly during this difficult time.
Be extra sensitive to the timing of discussions. Plan the “money talk” when you both feel calm and there are no interruptions or distractions (turn off your phones and TV and wait until the kids are in bed or are occupied).
Omit non-financial issues from the discussion. Take a time-out if things get overheated, and make a commitment to revisit the money talk later.
Check in more often about your financial situation. When the economy is consistently up and down, a bi-monthly or even weekly discussion may make sense.
Figure out a spending plan together for what works now. The word “budget” can feel like “deprivation” to some people. Instead, think about reassessing and setting financial goals for your current situation. Things that seemed like a priority a few months ago, like saving for a vacation, may not qualify as a necessity if your finances have become unstable recently.
Track your spending. Together and separately, know exactly where your money goes each day. Check your bank and credit card websites for online features that show you the breakdown of expenses.
Stick to a regular time for bill paying and conducting a spending review. Sum it up and decide on the next steps. Schedule something fun for after the meeting like a bike ride or playing a game.
Communication at a standstill? Seek help from a licensed counselor who can help you and your partner with problem resolution and finding resources.