Why Every Couple Needs to Have a Money Date

Aditi Shekar
March 22nd, 2018 | 3 minutes
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What if I told you that you could significantly improve your chances of hitting those #relationshipgoals? It's true! Just an hour each month could help you avoid the number one reason most couples get divorced.

What’s a Money Date, you ask? It’s a date where you talk about the kind of life you want to live and how you’re going after it. Some couples like to host them monthly and deep dive into their finances, while others have shorter sessions each week.

Bring out the candles, uncork the wine, and ready your calculators because we’re going to have ourselves a Money Date.

Who should have Money Dates?

The truth is, the earlier you start talking about money in your relationship, the easier it gets. A good rule of thumb is to start them once you move in together since you’re starting to share expenses. Trust us, there are plenty of opportunities to piss each other off if your money habits are misaligned. Money Dates create space for you to bring up differences and evolving thoughts around combining finances in a open and honest way.

Rules of engagement

Schedule your Money Date ahead of time. Don’t try to schedule it on the fly because come on, most of us would rather put it off and retro bowling night over an impromptu money date. Also, springing a "money talk" on someone who isn't prepared to have it can cause unnecessary anxiety.

Create a judgement-free zone You aren’t trying to parent each other; you’re trying to plan a life together. Give yourselves the space to be honest and open without feeling like either of you is in the principal’s office.

Take a minute to appreciate the other person. My husband and I start by saying something we appreciate about each other just so we’re in a better mood when we dive in. (It might sound cheesy, but it works!)

What you should cover:

What goals you’re gunning for. Start by understanding your short-, medium-, and long-term goals and focus your conversations on your progress towards getting there. It’s a lot more fun to talk about how you’re going to retire in Colorado to run your dog sanctuary than discussing your grocery spending. This is a great time to talk about the goals you already have together or to bring up new goals.

Your monthly cash flow. This sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple. Take a moment to review what you've both earned, spent, and saved this month. This is a good moment to check how you’re allocating your money and whether it’s going towards the goals you've discussed. This is usually the hardest part of the conversation because you’ll inevitably have different spending patterns. Instead of getting mad, try using this space to suggest ways to save or even ideas on earning extra income together.

Check your debt. We millennials have more debt than any prior generation. This is a reality that many of us will have to inevitably face. Use your money dates to check in on your debt situation and see if it has increased or decreased. Of course you both want to clear yourself of that debt, but you also want to do it in a way that feels like you can still breathe or have a life.

Look ahead (the next 1-3 months). Use your Money Dates to get ahead of expenses or events coming up. Talking it through helps you figure out how you’ll pay for things or where you might fall short.

Celebrate a win! A Money Date night should include a celebration! We usually go get an ice cream after the fact or eat chocolate molten lava cakes. The point is, we try to end the date with something fun to remind us why we bother to have these conversations in the first place.

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