Talking to your partner about debt can be troublesome regardless of whether you are the one in debt or your partner is the one who is struggling financially. Money issues can cause problems in a relationship if they are not addressed appropriately. Talking about debt is difficult, but it can help eliminate the risk of financial stress harming your relationship.
It is important to express your concerns about debt in a neutral manner, as your partner does not feel as though they are under attack. Before you start a conversation with your partner about debt, make sure you understand the most effective ways to start the conversation.
Maintaining this level of honesty in future conversations about debt can help bring you closer to your partner while managing your financial stress moving forward. This article can provide you with the information you need to ensure you are appropriately discussing your concerns regarding debt.
Keep Everything on A Level Playing Field
When you want to speak with your partner about his or her level of debt, it is important to keep everything on a level playing field to avoid a potential argument. One of the easiest ways to achieve this goal is to have each partner pull their most recent credit report.
By pulling your credit reports, you and your partner can look through each of your spending habits and determine where you are spending the most money, both individually and collectively. This helps to put your financial security into perspective. Your partner may have an easier time realizing he or she is diving further into debt when faced with the prospect of looking over the money he or she spends each month in comparison to you.
Point out areas where you spend more than you are supposed to as well, so your partner understands you are looking for joint ways to reduce debt instead of simply singling out your partner’s spending habits.
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Once you and your partner have a clear understanding of how much each of you owes toward credit cards, student loans and other areas of debt, you have an easier time discussing the matter again in the future. Remaining transparent about your spending habits and how much debt you are in can help you work with your partner to remedy this issue. You want your partner to know this is an issue you plan on tackling together, regardless of who owes the most.
Work Together to Establish A Plan to Handle Outstanding Debts
Comparing your credit reports is the first step toward learning how to talk about debt with your partner. When you talk about debt with your partner, it is not a conversation you have a single time. You need to continue to discuss debt with your partner. Keep each other updated as you make payments, or if you incur more debt.
Jointly agreeing on a plan for how you want to handle your outstanding debts allows you to address your financial issues while working as a team. Tackling debt with your partner is only successful when you are both on board with paying down your collective and individual balances. Even if you believe your method is right, make sure you consider your partner’s proposal and are willing to make concessions.
Your partner may want to prioritize paying off his or her debt because the amount your partner owes is more than the amount you owe for your debt. If you are comfortable with this plan, you can assist your partner in making his or her debt payments on time and then have your partner assist you with your payments when the time comes.
For married couples with collective debt, consider finding additional sources of income to pay off your collective debt as quickly as possible. Your partner may be able to work overtime at his or her job and you may be able to pick up a few freelance assignments to contribute more on your end. Finding the balance between who is paying what portion of the debt and how the bills are prioritized is essential. You cannot tackle your debt if you and your partner are moving in two separate directions.
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You can utilize a few different methods when coming up with a plan for paying down your debt, and your partner can tell you what he or she prefers before you delve into one method over another.
You may want to pay smaller debts first before tackling larger debts, whereas your partner may want to tackle the larger debts before settling in on smaller amounts. Work together to find the pros and cons of each approach and make a joint decision regarding what method is the most useful at this current juncture.
Maintain Open Communication Throughout the Process
You may feel as though your job is complete once you and your partner have paid down your debt but maintaining open communication after the debt has been paid off is important as well. If you and your partner fail to maintain communication regarding your spending habits and debt balances, you may fall into the same poor spending habits.
Talk to your partner before you make substantial purchases, such as deciding to pay more toward your student loans during one payment period. Discussing finances is a necessary aspect in any relationship, and the more open you are about discussing finances, the easier it becomes to remain financially stable.
You and your partner may realize through the process you have long-term financial goals you were not aware of before talking about your debt. For example, you and your partner may decide you want to buy a house within the next five years and this decision can impact the way you save and spend in the future.
Once your debt is paid off, speak with your partner about how you can achieve this long-term goal and how your current spending habits need to be reflective of this effort. In doing so, you are eliminating the possibility of falling back into debt as you and your partner are going to be more mindful of your spending after this experience.
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