Are you looking for a way to talk openly about your finances with your partner? Or do you want to start setting and sharing financial goals with your partner but don’t know where to start?
Then a money date is a great place to start.
Money dates are a great way to get the awkward money conversation going between you and your partner. And they are a great way to set and share financial goals together and start feeling like a team.
Every partner has their own feelings towards money rooted in their own lived experiences. And as a couple, it can be hard to discuss these things openly, as one can feel very vulnerable.
But figuring out a way to talk about money openly is a rewarding experience that will help you get on the same page and start working on your financial goals together.
My partner and I started having money dates when we decided to move in together. These dates have been invaluable as they help us align our money with the shared vision we have for our future.
Both of us have had an experience where we weren’t on the same page financially with our past partners, which put a strain on those relationships.
Therefore, we knew from the get-go that we needed to be vulnerable and talk about all things money, both good and bad, to be able to get on the same page and work towards our goals as a team.
And so far, it’s working for us.
In this post, I’ll give you the strategies and framework you need to start having those tough but rewarding financial conversations with your partner.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Money Date?
A money date is intentionally setting and spending time with your partner to discuss finances.
It’s a time to be vulnerable and discuss your financial past.
It’s a time to check-in with your current finances.
It’s a time to talk about the vision you have for your life together, and aligning your money with that vision.
It’s a time to peel back the blindfold to expose what is working and not working financially.
It’s a time to open up communication between you and your partner and discuss the role you want money to play in your life.
It’s time for each partner to have an opportunity to participate and feel heard in regards to your finances.
As you can see, money dates can be a lot of things. But at its core, it’s a way to communicate with your partner and start working towards your shared vision for your financial life together.
Let’s get into some tips for a successful money date.
Tips for a Successful Money Date Night
Agree on a Date and Time
Find a date and time that works for each partner and put it on the calendar. Commit to making it a priority and only reschedule if you absolutely have to.
Keep the First Money Dates Light
Money is a tough subject to discuss. Therefore, to grease up the money talk wheels a bit, start with some light big-picture talks about your goals and dreams.
What things might you want to start working towards? Do you want to purchase a house? Renovate your existing home? Or go on vacation?
Make it Fun
Make an occasion out of it.
We do this by treating ourselves to donuts on each of our money dates. 🤤
Other ideas are to open a bottle of wine. Make a nice dinner beforehand. Or have something fun planned for after the meeting.
The point here is to make it fun and something you can look forward to.
Create an Agenda
This agenda can be as detailed as you want.
Its main purpose is to provide structure to the meeting and also to give each partner a chance to think about the talking points prior to the meeting.
Ideally, you would want to create the agenda together, or at least have each partner agree to the agenda.
This could be done by using your first money date to create an agenda. We have created our agenda by using a shared note-taking system, such as Google Keep, to write down the things each of us would like to discuss during the meeting.
Call Upon Your Best Listening Skills
A big part of a money date is learning about each partner’s dreams, priorities, and concerns.
I often go into money dates with a preconceived idea of what I think we should do. I’m the one who loves talking about money in this relationship, so I tend to think I know what is best for both of us. But we all know this is not true.
I muster up my best listening skills to make sure I hear and learn from my partner, as his thoughts and feelings are as important as mine.
Listening to each other will help both partners feel like they are part of the finances. And when both partners feel involved, they feel more empowered to work towards the shared goals.
Use “I” Statements
Every partner has different experiences and feelings towards money.
When starting to talk money with your partner, focus on talking about how you are feeling and what you want instead of what the other person is or isn’t doing.
For example, use phrases like “I want to save more money” instead of “you are spending too much money”.
Things to Discuss During Your Money Date
Now that we know how to set ourselves up for a successful money date, what do you actually talk about on this date?
Every couple’s money date will look different, and what you talk about each meeting will change as your goals and financial situations change.
Here is a list of topics you may want to include in your money date:
Discuss Your Why
If you only talk about one thing during your money meeting, then this is it.
Sharing your “why”—how you’d like to use your finances to work towards your hopes and dreams for your future—is the most important thing you can do to get on the same page as your partner. It’s essential.
Before you start talking dollars and cents, have a candid conversation about your “why”.
How do you want your life to look and feel? What are your dreams and your wants?
And this isn’t just the dreams and wants for your life as a couple, it’s what you want for you as an individual as well. Do you have hobbies you want to pursue, or aspirations to become an entrepreneur?
Take time to think about what you want your life to look and feel like this year, in 5 years, and in 20 years.
I can’t stress the importance of this step enough.
Having shared goals for your future is the foundation for successfully creating a money plan with your partner.
In a past relationship, I did not have shared goals beyond setting aside money for a vacation each year with my partner.
We didn’t share any long-term goals. And we didn’t talk about what we wanted our future to look like as a couple.
As a result, there was a lot of resentment from both partners about how we each used our money.
But the good news is that because of that rocky relationship, I learned the importance of shared goals. And I knew creating a plan with my partner was something that was a must in any future relationship.
When you get on the same page with how you want your lives to look and feel, then your money goals fall right into place.
Pro Tip: Have each partner write down their “why” individually before discussing as a couple. This will help ensure each partner’s “why” is heard and not influenced by the “why” of the other partner.
Current State of Finances
Next up the boring (but important) stuff for those who don’t love personal finance.
In this section, you will gather data on the current state of your finances. There is no need to discuss much at this stage of the process. All you are doing is collecting the data to discuss in the next part of your money date.
The current state of finances includes:
- Credit Score
- Current Debt
- Retirement Accounts
- Savings Goals progress
- Net Worth
Income is the amount of money that you earned since your last money date. If it’s your first money date, then determine how often you plan to have money dates and use this length of time for guidance on how far to look back.
For example, if you plan to have a money date every week, then report your income from the previous week. If you plan to have a money date every month, then report your income from the previous month.
Expenses are the amount of money spent since your last money date. If it’s your first money date, then use the same guideline as described for your income.
Nowadays it’s easy to get your credit score on a regular basis. Most banks or credit cards offer credit reporting services that you can check whenever you would like.
Check credit scores no more than once a month, as scores aren’t updated every week.
If you do not have credit reporting through your bank or credit card, you can request a free full credit report once a year. Check out: Annual Credit Report to get yours.
List all current debts.
This includes credit cards that aren’t paid-in-full each cycle, car loans, mortgages, payday loans, personal loans, student loans, etc.
Retirement Account Status
List every retirement account and the amount currently in them.
Savings Goals Progress
Update the savings goals established at the previous money meeting. If this is your first money meeting then leave blank.
Create Shared Money Goals
Now that you have a sense of your “why” and have shared the current state of your finances, you can discuss how to use your money to reach your shared and individual goals.
This is the fun part of the money date.
It’s when you get to decide as a couple what you want your money to do for you. What life do you want your money to help you create?
The process of deciding together how you want to use your money to work on your shared goals is exciting.
But it can also be frustrating, as you will inevitably find that you can’t work on all of your money goals at once. You will have to work together to pick which goals are your priorities and start there.
Shared goals to consider are:
- Starting a budget together
- Create financial stability by starting an emergency fund
- Work on paying off debt
- Save for a downpayment on a house
- Increase your retirement savings
- Save for a vacation or wedding
- Increase income through side-hustles
This list could go on and on. It’s all about what you want in your life and how you can use your money to help you get there.
For more about setting financial goals check out: How to Set Short Term Financial Goals
Celebrate Your Money Wins
Take the time to celebrate any money wins you may have had no matter how small you may think they are.
Taking care of your finances is a journey and there are so many wins along the way that deserve to be celebrated.
Did you finally stay under your food budget for the month? Did you hit a savings goal?
Celebrate that shit!
Talk About Any Money Concerns
Did you go over budget last month? Did you not meet one of your savings goals? Or do you want to start saving less and spend more now?
Take a look at the current state of your finances and discuss anything that didn’t go right. Something just may have to be tweaked or maybe priorities should be reestablished.
Set a Date for the Next Money Date
Before wrapping up your money date, put a date on the calendar for your next meeting. You don’t want life to get in the way and forget to schedule your next meeting.
For us, we like to meet quarterly. But at the beginning of your journey together, I would suggest meeting at least monthly.
Money Date FAQs
No. To create and work towards common money goals, you do not have to have combined finances.
The only prerequisite is that you are completely honest and transparent with your own individual money.
Mr. Taco and I do not combine our finances but are still able to set and work towards our shared goals together.
And the reason we can do this is that we have regular money dates.
These money dates give us the opportunity to set expectations. And they allow us to check in with each other to discuss the progress we have made separately towards our shared goals. They also allow for us to reprioritize our individual and shared goals as our interests and financial situations evolve.
When you start to talk about building a life together, that is a great point to start having money meetings.
The sooner you understand each others’ financial past and money habits and get on the same page with your money goals, the less friction you will experience in the future.
You Got This
The idea of sitting down with your partner and talking about money can be overwhelming.
But don’t let that stop you.
Use these tips and strategies to help you create the space needed to have these tough money conversations. By sharing your “why” and creating shared goals, you will feel good about your shared financial future. Then you can start crushing your money goals one goal at a time.