Young couple planning finances in a kitchen

Key Takeaways

  • Think beyond obvious goals and focus on your ideal lifestyle with the help of a professional financial planner. 
  • When discussing money with your partner, ensure both your voices are heard. 
  • Check in regularly on your progress together.  

Talking about finances isn’t always fun, but it’s an important thing for couples to do. If you and your partner take this step, you’ll be glad you did!

A Potential Source of Stress

Money can be a sensitive subject for any couple. You can agree on everything from movie preferences to dream vacation destinations yet have difficulty deciding on shared financial priorities.  

By taking steps to ensure you and your partner are on the same page, you can reduce your stress significantly. Here are a few tips. 

Set Your Goals

To begin the process, think about what’s most important to you. What do you want? Think beyond, “I want to pay off the mortgage.” If the mortgage were paid off, what would you be able to do that you can’t do now?  Why would it feel good?  

Once you start communicating about what your ideal life looks like, the real conversation can begin. 

Having these discussions during a meeting with a Certified Financial Planner® professional or Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ professional can be especially helpful. This step will enable you to draw upon the knowledge of an expert as you define your short and long term goals and create a strong financial plan.

Create a Plan

Once your goals have been established, creating a clear plan will help you achieve them. Whether or not your goals are the same as your partner’s, work with your financial planner to lay out options for getting from A to B and choose a strategy together.

For example, imagine you both want to save for a big vacation next year. Perhaps you plan to cut down on dining out while your partner would rather find a cheaper place to live. A financial planner can help you develop a plan that will allow you to meet your goals. After assessing your financial situation, they can assist with the following:  

  • Discussing your shared goals and visualizing different paths to reaching them. 
  • Communicating clearly about what you like and what you don’t like.  
  • Establishing the steps required to meet both sets of goals. 
  • Determining the steps you should  take on a daily basis to meet them. 
  • Talking fairly about compromises if both sets of goals can’t be met.  

Once you’re able to have a conversation about what’s meaningful to you as individuals and as a couple, you’ll be well-positioned to start making decisions. 

Check in Regularly

To start working toward meeting your goals and reducing your financial stress, it’s important to conduct check-ins – both with your partner and with your planner.  

The truth is, regardless of gender and sexuality, the two individuals within a partnership may experience financial stress in unique ways.  

The data bears this out. According to FP Canada’s 2022 Financial Stress Index, women are more likely to lose sleep over money stress than men (46% compared to 39%). 

To reduce financial stress, couples should ensure that they’re communicating about money. Consider the following steps: 

  • Check in on your financial progress – How have your finances changed since you started being more aware of your saving and spending? 
  • Check in on yourself – Are the goals you’re pursuing still important?  If you’ve made compromises, how does that feel?  
  • Check in with each other – Are your goals still the same? Are there adjustments that should be made? 
  • Check in with your planner – What new questions are arising now that you’ve started following your plan? Remember that your planner can help you further improve upon your plan at any time.  

Creating a comprehensive financial plan will help you make the best choices for you and your family. At every stage of the conversation, a professional financial planner can help. 

To find the right Certified Financial Planner® professional or Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ professional, use our Find Your Planner tool.

Sara McCullough headshot. She is wearing a light coloured shirt and has blond hair and glasses. She is smiling warmly at the camera. Photo is in black and while

Sara McCullough, CFP®, is the Owner at WD Development, which offers advice-only financial planning 

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