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Are you in Good Hands?


Relationships can get tough, especially when money is involved—whether you’re splitting the dinner bill with friends or deciding to share a bank account with your partner. This handy guide will help you navigate some tricky financial relationships, from handling rent splits with a roommate to addressing wage gaps in the workplace.

With your roommate, who’s late with the rent

  1. Think about why they might have fallen behind. Did changing jobs delay a paycheck? Consider any potential issues.
  2. Time your talk well—wait until there’s a quiet moment.
  3. Use “we” and “our” in your conversation. Try: “Can we talk about our rent?”
  4. Offer help. Do they want a reminder from you?

With your boss, when you’ve learned that you make significantly less than your coworker

  1. Take a moment (or a day) to process your feelings before approaching your manager.
  2. Do your research to learn what the average pay is in your industry. Consider factors like location, experience and company size—as well as extenuating circumstances like seniority.
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  1. Don’t speak about how you found out about the disparity—this is about you, not your colleague.
  2. Don’t be accusatory or emotional.
  3. Be realistic. You may need to wait until your next review period for a raise, but be clear about your expectations.
  4. Be prepared to accept what they say, or to walk away if you need to.

With your brother, who still owes you for his share of your parents’ anniversary gift

  1. It’s hard to tell tone in an email or a text, so be sure to talk face-to-face. Not local to each other? Try video-chatting.
  2. Start by stating that you were glad you could lay out the money when your sibling/relative needed you to, so they understand that you’re coming from a good place.
  3. Be very clear, and ask in no uncertain terms, when you can expect repayment, but don’t be formal. A simple “When do you think you’ll have that money I lent you?” is direct without being accusatory.
  4. Be prepared to walk away from the debt for the sake of your relationship. As the wise saying goes, “Never lend more money to family than you’re prepared to lose.”

With your spouse, when times are tight and there’s a budget dispute

  1. Timing matters. A stressful financial moment is never the right time to think clearly about your budget.
  2. Remember, you’re in this together, and you’re both the CFOs of this organization.
  3. Make it a date. Pick a day to talk so you’re both prepared.
  4. Listen. It’s essential that you each feel heard.