Have it Out

How to talk to your partner about debt

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, eight out of every 10 American households have some form of debt. That means there are potentially awkward conversations to be had. It can be difficult to talk to your partner about debt, but it’s a must if your relationship is serious.

The key to discussing debt is to schedule a time to do it. Don’t put it off. Just like debt itself, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. In fact, it’ll likely make things more difficult. First, ask your partner for a specific time to talk and address the subject. When you start discussing the debt, think of it as ripping off a band-aid. The more details you put out there, the better. Talk about how you got into debt and be brutally honest. Remember: No one is perfect. Come to the conversation prepared to show your credit score, student loan info, credit card statements and more. Once you have laid out the details, talk with your partner about how to tackle the debt. You can start with your ideas and then ask about their ideas.

As Marketwatch reports, you should also discuss any fears you have about the debt affecting your relationship. The key, again, is honesty. You should discuss how your long-term financial goals will be altered (if it all) by the debt.

And remember: The initial debt conversation is just your starting point. You should keep each other updated regularly about the debt and how it’s getting paid down. The good news is that if you were as honest as possible during the first discussion, further talks will likely be smoother. Relationships can bond over tough times. Think of that as just one of the many silver linings to discussing your debt.

Chris O'Shea

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