- Learning to work together on shared finances isn’t always easy and can lead to arguments, but “money dates” can help.
- Designating time to enjoy each other’s company, while taking a deep dive into finance, can all be done during a “money date.”
- This is Aditi Shekar’s advice for making the most out of a money date.
- This article is a contributed piece as part of a series focused on millennial financial empowerment called Master your Money.
Love and money don’t always mix. In fact, money remains one of the top reasons couples get divorced. So it’s natural to wonder how can one avoid such arguments when it comes to shared finances?
As the founder of Zeta, a tool for couples to manage their finances, I obsess about this question. In fact, I’ve advised thousands of couples on their shared finances, including how to merge their funds, manage their cash flow, or divide their assets if they break up. In all of these conversations, I’ve heard over and over again how hard it can feel for couples to get on the same page about money. So today, I’d love to share my favourite tip for mastering money together -“money dates.”
In simple terms, a “money date” is a date that you and your partner have to dive into your finances. In this conversation, you’ll talk about the kind of life you want together and how you’ll achieve it as a team. These dates can get as granular or stay more high-level as you’d like.
For example, some couples have monthly or quarterly money dates that are longer and more focused on tracking progress against their goals. While other couples have a weekly or bi-weekly cadence to more quickly dive into their income and expenses. Whatever your style, the important thing is to pick a path and get started.
What to cover during “money dates”
Make sure you cover the major themes of your shared finances – goals, cash flow, and debt. It can be helpful to talk about what is coming up in the next few weeks or months whether that’s big bills or windfalls. It’s also important to celebrate the wins to keep up your motivation – even if they’re small steps you’re taking towards achieving your goals.
While money dates can be enjoyed by couples at all stages of their relationship, I recommend you start as soon as you move in together and begin sharing large expenses together. This allows you to build the habit of talking about money together and makes the conversations easier over time. Best of all, you’ll quickly start to feel like you’re on the same team, working towards shared goals together.
If you’re ready to dive in, here are a few rules of engagement to keep in mind.
Schedule the date
My husband and I have found that having a regularly scheduled date on our calendars makes us much more likely to stick to our monthly cadence and creates a space for us to bring up money conversations when we’re both ready to talk about it.
A successful money date requires both parties to want to be there! That means creating a safe space for you each to bring up what’s working and not in the same conversation.
Make them fun!
Just because you’re talking about money doesn’t mean they can’t get a little wild. Chocolate, wine, long windy walks on the beach are all fair game as the backdrop to your dates.
This article was contributed by Aditi Shekar, founder and CEO of Zeta, and a member of BI’s Money Council.