Man and woman looking at their bank cards

How to talk to a new partner about money

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox

For many people, money is a bit of a taboo topic. But in a new relationship, you can strip it of its stigma from the off.

Talking about money early, often, and positively can help you make sure your approach to finances is aligned and nip any disagreements in the bud.

We're sharing our tips on how to talk about money with a new partner, right from day one.

Remember, talking about money doesn't mean giving away private information

Building a relationship where you talk about money openly doesn't need to come at the expense of protecting your privacy. Even in close relationships, it's important to keep some personal boundaries in case things go wrong.

So, as you follow these pointers, remember to keep sensitive personal information like your account or card details to yourself. That way, they can't be misused to commit fraud against you if the relationship ends badly further down the line.

Money can come up as early as your first date

You might think that money chat has no place on a first date. But there's one topic you can rarely avoid: who's going to pay?

Some people like to split the cost of a first date in half or pay for themselves. Others believe that the person who made the invitation should pay. And some people like to treat their date as they think it shows they're interested. If your date takes an approach you weren't expecting, it could lead to an awkward moment at the end of the night.

Instead, you could bring up the topic before the date, making it a run-of-the-mill part of date preparation. It also helps set a transparent tone for your relationship right from the start.

If you decide to split the cost, many banks now allow you to request money using a link or QR code, which can help keep your account details secure.

Keep talking about money as you get to know each other

Once the first date is out of the way, there are plenty of things you can do to keep the money chat flowing as your relationship progresses.

Be open about your budget

Keeping up appearances is a big thing in new relationships. Many of us believe, rightly or wrongly, that our financial situation reflects our personal worth. At a time when you're keen to impress, it can be easy to spend more on dating than you have the budget for. As a result, you may leave yourself short for other expenses and cause yourself unnecessary worry.

But remember, nobody has endless money to spend. There's no shame at all in being clear that you need to stick to a budget. If this means spending less on dating, try these tips to talk about it:

  • Know your numbers. Spend a bit of time by yourself going through your budget and work out what impact spending on dates has had and what you can afford to spend (if anything) in the future.
  • Keep it short and sweet. You can still be open about money without sharing private financial information. A simple, factual explanation of your situation is all a new-ish partner needs. 
  • Suggest alternatives. Make sure it's clear that you're not turning down the date, just these plans. There are plenty of cheap or even free things you can do to enjoy time together.

Your partner may be facing similar budget pressures and be relieved that you've brought it up. If they aren't keen to compromise, then this might tell you all you need to know about them!

Talk about your financial priorities

As you spend time with someone, you'll start to notice what they spend less on and where they splash out. But don't rely on what you observe to see what their priorities are; talk to them about it, too!

Sharing your financial mindset and priorities with a partner could mean bringing up small everyday choices as they happen, like how you're going to make a coffee at home rather than buying one out. Or it could be a more serious chat about how you need to choose whether to have a warm home or a full fridge. Where you start depends on your circumstances and your relationship.

Getting a sense of what you each focus on financially can help you see how compatible you are. If you each prioritise completely different things, this could lead to arguments down the line. But if you both know what's important to the other up front, you can find ways to compromise as you go along to keep your relationship in financial harmony.

Share your goals and plans

Sharing your financial goals and plans with a partner is another great way to see if and how you fit together financially. They can be relatively small, like saving up for an expensive item. Or they can be big life goals, like getting on the property ladder or being able to retire early.

Your money goals don't have to match perfectly. Although it helps if you have similar ambitions, what's most important is that you know about and can support one another's plans. And in time, the individual goals you have now may become shared goals that you work towards together.

Be honest about your debts

The money you owe may come up naturally in other conversations about your budget, priorities, or goals. For example, perhaps you've already talked about how you're prioritising clearing your debts or have a short-term goal of becoming debt-free.

If your debts haven't come up before, it can help to plan what you're going to say ahead of time and anticipate the questions they might have. Our pointers might help you organise your thoughts. If this person has been supportive and respectful during the other conversations you've had, there's every chance they will be now, too.

Remember, while it's good to be open about the situation, especially if it's worrying you, it's also important that you protect your privacy and maintain your boundaries. Only share as much as you feel comfortable with and be mindful of how your information could be misused if you split from your partner in the future.

Know where to find help

Talking to your partner about money may make you realise you need help, either with your finances or your relationship. You can get free, impartial advice from:

  • StepChange provide free debt advice and access to debt solutions.
  • Citizens Advice advise on all kinds of money topics.
  • Money Wellness can provide free debt advice and help with debt solutions.
  • MoneyHelper has a wealth of information and advice on all sorts of money topics.
  • National Debtline can give you advice and support with all kinds of debt.
  • Relate can help with relationship advice, including how to talk to your partner about money and debt.


Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

Author Profile Image: Helen Fox

Helen Fox

Personal Finance Editor

Helen is a personal finance editor who’s spent 11 years (and counting!) in the finance industry. She creates content on everything money with the goal of getting people thinking – and talking – about their finances in ways they may not have done before.

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