Money is one of the most common sources of tension in relationships. And one of the best ways to avoid money-related fights is to have an open and honest discussion about finances with your partner.

But that can be easier said than done, especially if you’re not used to talking about money matters. So where do you start? Here are a few tips for having a productive conversation about finances with your partner.

  1. Talk about your goals for the future and how you’ll need to work together financially to make them a reality – One of the best ways to start a discussion about finances is to talk about your future goals. What do you want to achieve together? Do you want to buy a home, start a family, or retire early?
  1. Discuss your current financial situation – Another important conversation to have is about your current financial situation. This includes things like how much debt you have, your credit scores, your income, and your spending habits. It’s important to be on the same page as your partner about these things.
  1. Figure out your financial values – What are your financial values? Are they the same? Are some of them different? Financial values can include things like how you feel about debt, saving, and investing. Do you value simplicity or do you like to live a more luxurious lifestyle?
  1. Cover financial security – Financial security includes things like whether you’re comfortable taking risks, how you feel about having a safety net, and what you would do if one of you lost your job. This can also include a discussion about life insurance. The death benefit from life insurance can replace a partner’s income if they passed away, leaving the other partner with financial security during a difficult time.
  1. Define your financial roles – People in a partnership have different responsibilities, and this extends to finances. Who will be responsible for what? For example, will one person make sure bills are paid on time while the other does taxes once a year? Financial roles can include things like who will be responsible for tracking expenses or creating a budget.
  1. Be open about money-related stressors – Everyone has different money-related stressors. Some people are more worried about saving enough for retirement while others are worried about credit card debt. Financial stressors can include things like job insecurity, financial worries or even just the day-to-day stress of managing money.
  1. Consider your communication style – Do you like to talk about money often or do you prefer to avoid the topic altogether? How well do you handle disagreement about finances? Communication styles and level of comfort talking about money can vary greatly from person to person. It’s important to figure out your communication styles when it comes to finances, so you can adjust accordingly and have productive discussions.
  1. Agree on rules around spending and saving money – What does your budget look like? How much are you trying to save each month? Is there a goal you’re working toward, like a down payment? Having some agreed-upon rules around spending and saving can help you avoid arguments and misunderstandings in the future.

Talking about finances can be difficult, but it’s an important conversation to have with your partner. By having an open and honest discussion, you can get on the same page and work together to achieve your financial goals.