Talking about Debt
Debt is not a pretty subject. In fact, most people will avoid opening up about debt to anybody. Financial matters, more so debt, are very sensitive topics. It is however necessary to find a way to talk to your partner about your financial situation because of two very crucial reasons. First of all, opening up about debt enables you to get support from someone you love and trust. Secondly, discussing your financial situation allows you to brainstorm on solutions so that you can salvage matters before they escalate.
There really is no ‘right’ way to talk to your partner about debt, because relationships are different. However, there are some approaches that have been tried and tested. You can determine which one you feel most comfortable with, and then start from there. If you get nervous about face to face conversations, you might want to write a letter to your partner informing them of your debt. Important details to include are how you incurred the debt, what you did with the money, your debt settlement plan and so on. You don’t have to write everything in the letter. Once your partner gets the letter, there will now be an opening to talk out matters further in person. Owing a huge amount of money is highly stressful. If your significant other opens up about having debt, do your best to be supportive. This is not to say that you should run and pay off the debt for them. There are various ways of being supportive, including sharing your best saving tips with your partner, and helping them come up with a payment plan that works for them. You could even help them sign up for a credit counselling program, which you can attend together. Talking about finances doesn’t have to be a boring ordeal that you suffer through. You can make it fun and relaxed by scheduling date night to discuss your financial situations, your goals, your debt consolidation plans if any, and even your general values regarding finances. You will have fun and at the same time make headway on a topic most couples have a problem getting past.
Be on the same page
While handling finances as a couple, it is important that you are on the same page. That means, you should be able to name your financial priorities at any given time. For instance, if you come by a windfall, what would be the first thing you use that money for? If you and your partner give a different answer to this question, then there is a problem that needs fixing. Always discuss and align your financial priorities to avoid conflicts.
It is also important that you make discussions about your finances a regular thing, not a once-off conversation that only happens when things have gone way out of line. When done regularly, it ceases to be a huge topic that you are constantly nervous about. It instead becomes something that you and your partner are in sync about and comfortable bringing up as necessary.