Conversations with friends

How should we be speaking with other couples about money?

In partnership with


Oh, hi. Heather here.

At the bottom of this newsletter, we ask couples to join us for a Zoom double date. This is not an empty gimmick meant to convince you to be interviewed for our book. It’s really just what the process has become: We meet. You share. I share. We laugh. We cry. We change your name (upon request!). In the depth of our conversations, we experience something rare together. Maybe too rare for our own good. 

I didn’t set out for these interviews to be so reciprocal in nature. While I might be a Leo only child with Main Character Energy, I take great care not to center myself in other people’s vulnerable moments. At the same time, when conversations open doors, I walk through them as a person first and an author second. It’s natural, and I believe, comforting for us both. Maybe there is more here. 

I’ve realized, couples can find inherent value in speaking with other couples about money. 

From the time we’ve spent with the couples we’re writing about in our book, I’ve gained perspective and context. I’ve been validated. I’ve received ideas and suggestions Douglas and I are trying to implement in our own lives. As I’ve written here before, even if someone else considers you an “expert” at something–like Douglas with personal finance–we are not perfect. No one wins at money once and is done making important decisions forever. We are all works in progress, as basic as that sounds. 

The hardest part of having conversations you’re not used to is starting them. And because I’m pretty business-minded about the publishing process, I’ve lost a lot of sleep thinking about this: How do we get people who have read this book to convince their partners to read it, too? How do we leave readers not only moved but motivated to tackle something this hard? How can we help readers find the courage to insist their partners join them as teammates when it comes to money?

Last week, I had an interesting thought in the comments on Instagram. Katie Gattitassin examined whether there’s value in talking about finances with your friends. Lots of people chimed in, yes, of course, normalize the conversation, but I agree with her that nuance can get lost in such blanket oversimplifications of the issue. To their credit, yes, of course, normalizing money conversations in general will probably have a net-positive impact, especially for women searching for tools to advocate for themselves at home and work. But self-awareness matters, too. Sharing salaries and details of your savings and investment accounts might be too personal for some people and not applicable to others who are just in a different place than you. 

When I was a corporate lawyer, I never hesitated to discuss my salary with industry colleagues, but would a mom friend in town benefit from the same information? Unless she asks, probably not. It might even come off the wrong way if you say too much to the wrong people at the wrong time. Money is weird like that. We benefit from deeper conversations, sure, but what types of conversations should we be having, exactly? 

Try focusing on what you do instead of what you have

I don’t mean what you do for work. I mean, how you behave and feel around money. Conversations that focus on navigating the spectrum of emotions that come with making financial decisions are a lot more constructive than those that lead with unhelpful comparisons between peers. For example…

How do you approach an investment opportunity? Do you have a pretty big appetite for risk, or do you worry a lot about what ifs? Where do you think that comes from? How do you and your partner save for a big goal? What are some of your big goals? What’s something you’ve done that you’re proud of this past year? What challenges have you overcome this past year? How are you feeling–really feeling–about where you are right now? 

I know. Imagine asking your friends that many big questions during one dinner, but I’m painting with broad strokes just to illustrate my point. I think it says something that in our hundred-plus hours of speaking with couples, we barely ever talk specific numbers. Yet, we’ve learned so much about people and so much more about ourselves. 

My goal is to include as many real-couples’ stories as we can in our book in an effort to break down social barriers that prevent us from connecting with each other. Feeling seen is one step toward getting ready. I don’t care whether you gain that from reading my conversations with friends or having some of your own. I have no doubt that talking about it will help you be about it. So I guess the question is, who are you calling first?

Have you ever talked with another couple about money? Who was it? Tell us how it went: [email protected].


We are so grateful for our friends at CNBC who gave us these recent opportunities to talk about finance, crypto, relationships, and Taylor Swift! Read them here:


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Do you have a money question you’d like answered in a future issue of The Joint Account? Don’t be shy!

BOOK UPDATE! We’re speaking with so many real-life couples about love and money, but we need you, too. If you’re interested in having a Zoom double date with us, email: [email protected].

Are you a brand or business interested in reaching The Joint Account’s audience of 12K+ subscribers? Email [email protected].

Find us everywhere: @dougboneparth + @averagejoelle

The content shared in The Joint Account does not constitute financial, legal, or any other professional advice. Readers should consult with their respective professionals for specific advice tailored to their situation.