With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought I would write about couples and money matters.
For a lot of couples, talking about money is taboo…unfortunately. Pairs don’t realize that differences in money management and views can put a huge strain on their relationship, if not end it.
Although I don’t suggest bringing up the matter on your first date, I do however suggest bringing it up long before you move in together or get married.
Here are a few points you need to cover with total honesty:
- Income: you need to know how much everyone is making and where the income is coming from. A good opportunity to discuss career and family plans as well.
- Debt load: be up-front about the amount you owe and the kind of debt it is, i.e. credit cards, student loans etc…
- Savings: how much? What kind? Views on saving for retirement, emergencies, vacation or other items
- Bills: Ignored or always paid on time?
- Accounting: how do you manage your money on a day-to-day basis? Do you have a budget? Automated payments?
Schedule time to do this. Don’t have the money talk after a long day at work, or when you are tired, sick or cranky.
Come prepared; see above points.
Don’t judge or blow up at your partner if you don’t like their numbers or don’t agree with their views.
Don’t ignore any red flags or major financial differences either. It is easy to say you will just “work it out” or “figure things out”, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way.
For me personally, financial incompatibility is a deal breaker. I would definitely not wait for “moving day” to have the money talk.
Actually, I try to assess financial compatibility fairly early on. The longer you are in a relationship, the more attached you become and the more difficult and painful it is to leave. I learned this the hard way!