How to have the money conversation

1 in 7 couples have never, I repeat never, had a conversation about money.

It’s not surprising really because the top 3 things couples argue about are:

  1. Family disputes
  2. The Housework
  3. And Money
And we all want to avoid, difficult conversations, don’t we. But if you don’t have the conversation, how do you get your house in order?

According to Prudential Even for the majority of couples who do discuss their retirement plans, long-term issues are likely to be side-lined, as short-term everyday expenses take priority. Daily living costs and household bills are regularly discussed by the majority of couples (60 per cent and 52 per cent respectively), and one in three couples (34 per cent) speak about the costs of home improvements, large purchases and luxuries.

However, discussions about long-term planning are far less prevalent, with only 16 per cent of couples claiming to regularly talk about retirement income and pension planning. Only three per cent of couples claim they have had conversations about inheritance planning and tax.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential said: “Money can be a tough topic to discuss at the best of times. Many couples prefer to steer clear of conversations about finances, and especially discussions about longer-term issues like retirement, which might feel light-years away.

When was the last time you spoke to your partner about money? Unfortunately, sex and money are the subjects least spoken about in relationships. Left un-discussed, the issue of money can lead to resentment, shame and guilt all seething under the surface.

In an effort not to emasculate or disempower you may have chosen to avoid money conversations with your partner, leaving you with the full weight of responsibility. On the other hand you might have thought it unnecessary to talk and behave as you like because it’s your cash, assuming that your partners silence means that it is OK.

Whatever the dynamic, conversations about money need to happen so you and your family can live a much richer life. In my book Rocking Your Role: The how to guide to success for female breadwinners I provide a framework for that conversation. Here are three tips that really work:

Identify attitudes– defining attitudes towards money is a good way to get the conversation started. Are you the same or different from your partner? If you don’t share the same values talking will help draw out some of the tensions. If you are too similar it might be better to discuss what you can both do differently to make the most out of money.

Make it practical – put all emotions aside and make money about practicality rather than power. You are in a great position to use your voice to break down taboos and decide what money means to your family.

Work as a unit – make choices about how you use and manage money together- a family unit can’t have people moving in different directions.

Talking about money is the only way to destroy the power it holds over us. It can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and stressful for everyone involved but having it out in the open is better than letting resentments fester on both sides.

Especially for WATC readers, I have created a 10 page practical guide to having the money conversation, you can download it here It’s the New Year, be the brave and courageous lioness I know that you are and start the conversation.

I am Jenny Garrett, Executive Coach, founder of Reflexion Associates, a leadership and coaching consultancy and author or Rocking Your Role – I help professional working women move from struggling and juggling to rocking their many roles in life. Find out more about me, my programmes, speaking engagements and training at

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