Talking about money can be hard, especially in an Asian culture. And especially so with your spouse. How then can you have a meaningful and much needed discussion on this topic? The original version of this article was published at StashAway.

Ah, the money talk. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to talk to your partner about money eventually, but that conversation shouldn’t be painful when you share those money perspectives, and it certainly shouldn’t be the reason to end the relationship. In fact, that conversation should empower you to work together to reach the goals you each have set individually and together.

Yet, according to various surveys, the most common reason for breakups and divorces is hands-down money problems. Because people have different upbringings, experiences, and priorities, there is a wide range of views about how money should or shouldn’t be used. One person might view money as a means to freedom, while someone else might view it as means of security, and another person might be intimidated by it altogether.

There are ways to approach “the money talk” that can make it less daunting and more empowering.

Understand that Everyone has Different Views on Money

Our perspective about money is generally shaped by our upbringing and how our parents handled this aspect of their lives. If your parents struggled with debt, how will that make you feel towards money in the future?

On the contrary, if you grew up in a home where money was never an issue and you were able to get the things you always wanted, how does that change your perception of the value of money? These experiences shape the way we think and handle our personal finances. Understanding that everyone has different experiences and perspectives with money can improve your empathy and patience in having a conversation about finances.

Talk about the Goals You Want to Achieve

Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to retire early? Do you want to spend more money on the gym and less on going out to dinner? Does your partner know these things? What are you shared goals as a couple? What are your individual goals?

Talking about both your short-term and long-term goals helps to make sure that both of you are aligned so that surprises about preferences on emergency funds, retirement, buying a house, or the children’s tertiary education funding don’t arise.

You need to sit down, talk, and strategise about what you each want to achieve and do early and openly because all of these examples need a proper financial plan to be achieved.