Planning Your Financial Future: You, Your Honey and Money
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Studies have shown that for couples, money can be more than just hard to talk about—it can be a major area of conflict. Review these tips for making financial conversations easier

By: Rob Tiffee
SVP, Regional Wealth Executive,
Regions Private Wealth Management

What are you and your spouse planning for your next date night? Seeing a show? Going out dancing? Maybe … sitting down for a serious conversation about your financial future? Probably not that last one, if you’re like most Americans. Studies have shown that for couples, money can be more than just hard to talk about—it can be a major area of conflict.

But avoiding in-depth discussions about money—especially your financial goals and plans—is exactly how couples tend to run into problems. When I meet with couples, I stress that both people need to have a clear understanding about what’s going on in their financial lives and the financial future they’re building together.

The good news is that discussing finances now can help alleviate tension and prevent problems down the road. Here are a few suggestions about how to make that financial conversation a bit easier.

1. Find a time and a place. The first step is simply to set a date and time to start talking. Set aside at least an hour in a calm place where you will have privacy. It could be at home, at the kitchen table. Get out your bank statements, mortgage and debt paperwork, life insurance policies—all of your financial information—and look at the whole picture. Then, ask the questions: What are our financial goals? What do we want our lifestyle to look like? What are our financial priorities? What are the financial obstacles we face?

2. Set an agenda. A discussion about your finances will go more smoothly if you know what key issues you want to address. Otherwise, things can get off track quickly. An agenda can keep you focused.

3. Cover the basics. You might want to start by creating a family financial statement with assets, liabilities and income. This can help make sure both parties are starting the conversation from the same frame of reference.

4. Consider your goals. Arriving on common ground about what you both want and where you are headed is crucial. So, ask: Are we trying to save for college or a lake house? If you have competing priorities, this is the time to choose one or to make a plan to reach both of them.

5. Be honest. People make financial choices they regret, whether it’s a bad investment, overspending or something else. But hiding financial problems only makes them worse in the long term.

6. If things get heated... Discussing anything important can lead to conflict. You should have a plan in place in case things get tense. One option is to have an objective outsider present, such as a financial advisor, who can help keep the discussion on track.

Once you start having these “money-talk dates,” keep having them. Over time, the conversations should get easier. Open communication and compromise are the keys to creating a plan everyone can get behind, and to moving forward, together.

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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.