Interesting Image

Talking to My Man About Money—Oy Vey!

I remember when my now-husband & I were about to move in together. We’d been dating for 2 years. And I was struggling.  At what point do we have THE TALK about money?

We each knew the other had no credit card debt. Beyond that, we kept tip-toeing around the topic.

It reminded me of a letter to Ann Landers from a woman who wanted to ask her boyfriend to help pay for her birth control, but didn’t feel she knew him well enough to ask!

I laughed when I read that. But here I was—a financial coach—doing the same!!!  I just couldn’t bring myself to, as my friend Manisha Thakor titled her terrific book, Get Financially Naked with the man I loved. One day, I happened on an old journal from high school. I’d forgotten how I always wondered if people liked me for me or because my family was rich…how hard I tried to be like everyone else.

No wonder I was scared to expose myself financially. I was sure he’d reject or judge me harshly. With that realization, my resistance subsided.

Later that week, as we were finishing breakfast, without even thinking, I got up, retrieved my latest financial statements, pushed aside the dishes, spread out the papers, and said, “This is what I have.”

He listened, asked a few questions, then explained what was in his accounts. That was it…a non-event. But at the same time, it was clearly a turning point for us.  I learned 3 important lessons that day:

  1. The fear of doing is far worse than the actual doing! Afterwards, I wondered, “what was the big deal?”
  2. Resistance dissolves when its root is revealed. The moment I realized my childhood fears were the culprit, those old demons didn’t seem so threatening.
  3. Financial transparency is vital to intimacy and trust.  “Otherwise,” as Manisha writes, “like termites eating away at the foundation of your relationship, little nagging doubts or questions about each other’s finances could end up destroying what is currently a beautiful life.”

I’d love to hear your experience talking finances with your partner.  Leave me a comment below.

If you enjoyed this Words of Wealth, click here to receive a copy in your inbox every week.

Comments & Feedback

  • Paula

    Great topic. What if your partner is financially solid, but you do have debt and shame around your financial situation? In other words, the fear of the person judging or leaving is real. So it seems “safer” to avoid “the talk” until you get on more solid financial ground. I’m wondering if that is healthy strategy too: work to improve your financial situation, then have the talk when you can feel better about it?

    • barbara huson

      Of course it’s very healthy to work on improving your finances, Paula. But your secrecy is NOT healthy for the relationship. Having the talk actually brings you closer, reduces your shame, and strengthens your partnership (vs seeing him as your adversary). However, there’s always that risk that your issues will be a deal breaker for him. But honestly, what does that tell you about the health of your relationship now?

      I know how scared I was when I talked to Lee…but It was the best thing I could’ve done on so many levels.

  • Joy Griffiths

    Hi Barbara, this made me smile as it’s the other way round for me, since hubby took on the “home maker” role 22 years ago when our son was born and I went back to my career. I manage all the finances and only recently has he been willing to listen when I’ve tried to tell him snippets about it all…
    We still have a long way to go in this conversation and I wouldn’t be so tuned into it myself had I not decided to go on my own money journey (you being my 1st long-term guide), so I’m confident that he’ll join me along the way!!

    • barbara huson

      I LOVE everything you said, Joy!!! Big applause to you. I suspect he’ll come along eventually too…but if not, you’re in good shape financially. Well done my dear!

  • Diana

    I always had enough growing up, but my parents never talked about finances. They always said, “That’s private.” For our first 10 years together, my husband and I rarely talked about finances. I managed the checkbook and took on all the stress of paying bills myself. We racked up a lot of debt. I didn’t know how to ask for help and it was a lonely process… until my husband got laid off in 2010 at the height of the recession. We had 4 kids still living at home, and it was a struggle financially, with no regular cash flow. We ended up claiming bankruptcy, giving our house back to the bank and moving to another city. But it forced us to start communicating about money and to make our financial decisions together. We’re both self-employed freelancers now. Our finances have bounced back and our relationship is stronger than ever. We are finally acting as partners in our marriage. This experience was a wake-up call and I’m so glad we listened. We’re still learning how to manage our money wisely, but we’re creating a better reality for ourselves and are hopeful for the future.

    • barbara huson

      Oh Diana, I love happy endings. This was a beautiful tale of using a painful situation to bring you closer and take you higher. I’m so thrilled for the both of you. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

  • Christine T

    Talking finances with my ex-husband was sometimes extremely frustrating because I knew we were A.) in two very different financial situations and B.) had two very different viewpoints on how/when to spend money. I have always been frugal and he did help me learn to let up on that when things were going well for us financially. But in the long run I knew we wouldn’t have an easy financial future because he had massive amounts of student loan debt from law school. That was always in the back of my mind (and his). Ultimately, we split (for many other reasons) and now I can’t imagine myself being with someone so financially-incompatible ever again. Being in control of my finances is too important to me now.

  • barbara huson

    YES!!! Good lesson learned, Christine. I always made sure, before I accepted a second date, that he was responsible and debt free (other than mortgage). It’s made such a difference. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable lesson!!!

  • Jenifer

    When I got married, I didn’t realize how different my husband (now ex) and I were regarding money. Now that I survived divorce, have flourished financially, and want to date, I realize that I am very tense about money and a new man. I don’t feel I can ever let someone else have access to my money for fear I may wind up worrying about my next meal as I did when I divorced. I also have heard horror stories from others about how so many men are looking for a woman to take care of them! I’d like someone with the same kind of financial success or more than I have just so that we don’t have that worry between us. I know I have some personal work to do in this area before I would be a good match for a committed relationship again. Would love to hear your words for those of us who are mid-life (I’m 53) and how we handle it when the partner is in a very different financial situation.

    • barbara huson

      I felt the same as you when I got my 2nd divorce. I totally understand, Jenifer. But I used those first marriages as lessons for the next one.

      When I started dating again (at 55) I made sure I found out, on the first date, if he was financially responsible, stable and debt free and what his attitude about money was.

      When I met my current husband (age 60), that was an easy conversation to have. But sharing the personal details were scary. Yet I was very clear from the get-go, that I would never put up with what I allowed to happen with my other husbands….and this time I’d keep our finances totally separate. It took time to get to a high level of trust with him…but I can tell you, with honest, open, sometimes tough communication about everything to do with money, etc, we are in a great place. I lost my fear of being ripped off by him when I learned I could truly trust myself to take care of me financially! Good luck. I hope you eventually open up to love again, with a man who’s trustworthy. Let me know!

  • Joanne Menon

    Barbara THANK YOU for touching on this! Since your One Year to Wealth program my UK hubbie and I have gone through hell, BUT we came back! He returned to the UK to clear his financial situation and LOOK at where he needed to make changes, while I continued to work and work on mine. The bottom line is even though we were both working to make corrections we were still stuck (AHHHHH!!!!#$@%***!!!!!) because we weren’t TALKING about it. Thanks to a bit of financial pain we were forced to either choose divorce or discussion. We chose discussion. We now reserve Thursday mornings for our financial talks and agreed to take a Lynne Twist program together….its been powerful but painful to look at all the ways we were out of integrity with money….example….not asking my ex for timely child support is NOT OKAY. All on my head. At the same time we are in the “awareness and information phase” of our learning…..just now actually taking action TOGETHER from visioning our future, to tracking, to sharing our daily action money steps. He’s the best accountability partner I could ever have. I always wanted him to meditate with me, but this is perhaps an equally powerful spiritual practice and tens times more powerful at increasing intimacy!

    • barbara huson

      Joanne, I’m so happy to hear that things have worked out with the two of you. I totally remember how financially challenging that relationship was. What a miracle. I give you both lots of credit for doing the hard stuff. It’s so worth it, right? And yes, it’s the ultimate intimacy. Kudos to you xoxo

  • Laura

    Barbara, this reminds me of when George and I first started dating (three weeks before the Sacred Success event in WA)…I had made him dinner and wondered who he was voting for in the upcoming election. I was already in love with him, and the conversation was scary. As it turned out, we were voting for the same candidate. Our conversations about money were easy after that, I suppose, certainly in comparison to my past relationships, including my marriage of over 12 years! We each know exactly how much money the other has in the bank, have decided to give each other joint ownership of the accounts, and are talking about even scarier things – like life insurance. I’m 53; George turned 60 on Monday. And we’re not even married! 🙂

    • barbara huson

      That’s awesome, Laura. I so remember the beginning of your romance with George. I love that it’s evolved so beautifully!!!

      Interestingly, the one issue my hubbie and I tend to avoid is politics…we are on the total opposite sides! We’ve still managed to stay really happy together!!!

      Big hugs xo

Use The Form Below to Share Your Feedback And Opinion

Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

Top Back To Top
Site Design Rebecca Pollock
Site Development Alchemy + Aim