With V-Day right around the corner, you might be thinking about your relationship with your boo… and maybe your guys’ money sitch, too. To help tackle that tricky convo, we chatted with Nicole Lapin (she/her), founder + CEO of Money News Network and host of Money Rehab. (Where our founder Daniella Pierson was featured. Hi, Danny!)

“I’m the daughter of immigrants and growing up, my parents kept cash under the sink where it collected dust instead of putting it in the bank where it could collect interest. So, I also put cash under my sink,” she says about her past relationship with $$$. “When I was in college, I racked up credit card debt because I didn’t understand how compound interest was working against me. When I finally did pay my credit card debt off for good, I promised I would dedicate my career to creating the resources that I so desperately needed.” And guess what? She did!

Now, let’s find out how to DTR with our partner and finances once and for all.

Dealing with money in relationships can be really complicated. Why do you think that is?
Money comes with a lot of emotional baggage. We worry that we’re going to be judged for the money decisions we’ve made, or where we’re at in our financial journey. The desire to protect ourselves from judgment often turns into us keeping secrets, which is never good in relationships. Another common issue stems from the assumption that our partner has the same exact money goals we do—which is not always true. If you dream of retiring early at 50 and drinking smoothies on the beaches with your boo, and your boo dreams of being a worker-bee-power-couple through your 80s, that conversation has to happen before you start planning your retirement party at 49 because you two will have had very different saving strategies. Net-net, all of these challenges are caused by the fact that money can be difficult to talk about. But, it doesn’t have to be.

Ok, that’s good to know. What are a few ways to talk about, deal with, and balance finances in a healthy relationship?
1. When your relationship gets serious, it’s time to have The Money Talk. You know the one: where you share snapshots of your current financial picture, and your hopes and dreams for your financial future. Yes, this means getting into the nitty gritty of how much you make, how much you save, and whether you’re in debt. This discussion can be tough—but the best way to ease into it is to actually start with talking about the future, rather than the present. Simply because…  it’s way more fun. Here’s a little cheat sheet of conversation starters: What would you do if you won the lottery? What does your dream house look like? Do you want to set roots or travel the world? These convos will help bring into focus what sort of financial priorities you both have. Remember: Your goals don’t have to be perfectly in sync, just compatible. And no, there’s never really a “good time” to have this talk. Just make some time, take a deep breath, and get it done. Don’t make it like an IRS audit. This chat shouldn’t be confrontational; it should be aspirational. You’re making plans together, you’re dreaming about the future. There’s no reason that this shouldn’t bring you closer, rather than starting a fight.

2. Have “Yours,” “Mine,” and “Ours” funds. Yes, it’s easier to pay for shared expenses if you have a central account that you and your bae both contribute to, but don’t have that be your one and only bank account. You and your S.O. should also have your own separate accounts. Even in happily-ever-after-fairytale relationships, financial independence is important and healthy.

3. For shared expenses, don’t split your bills 50/50. Instead, take a weighted approach. If you’re making 10% more than your partner (okay, get after it!), then it’s fair for you to pay 10% more of the total expenses than your partner. This will prevent either of you from stretching your savings too thin, which can become a point of tension in relationships.

4. Don’t let The Money Talk be a one-time thing. You should put a reminder on your cal to have that recurring money chat quarterly. Not only will this help you and your partner stay on track with your financial goals, but it will also build in time to celebrate your wins. If you’re a solutions-oriented person, you probably make time to talk about what’s going wrong. But it’s just as important for the health of your relationship to make time to talk about the things that are going right.

5. Get! A! Prenup! If you’re planning on tying the knot, say “I do” to a prenup. Historically, prenups have been painted as the least romantic thing ever, but it’s time for a rebrand. The fear with broaching the prenup conversation is that you don’t want your partner to feel like you’re anticipating a divorce and/or not in it for the long haul. But think about it this way: You don’t plan on getting sick, but you still have health insurance, right? It’s the same with a prenup. I hope that your relationship is nothing but rainbows and butterflies, but on my pod, I’ve talked to some women who’ve had nightmare divorces—and they would have saved themselves a lot of heartache and financial hardship if they had a prenup.