When you start dating someone, you’re always looking to find out more about them. Learning what they like and dislike, their interests, their values, and what you ultimately have in common. But what about money & finances?
Let’s be real, you’re definitely not asking them about their retirement funds or debt repayments before the salad arrives on the first date (especially if you want a second one!)
For a lot of people, talking about money and debt doesn’t come naturally. And while it’s something that can be awkward, it’s not something to focus on early in the relationship. However, you don’t want to leave that conversation until after you walk down the aisle or even worse, when the bills show up either.
Truthfully, money is the second leading cause of divorce, so addressing this critical elephant in the room is necessary to establish a strong foundation for your future together.
So how do you exactly have these types of conversations with your partner? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but we do have some advice that might make the conversation a little easier and help you avoid conflict later down the road.
1. Set Your Financial Expectations Early On
Set the stage for a healthy relationship by addressing money conversations early on in relationships. Waiting until you have money-related issues means it’s too late, emotions are high, and rash decisions will likely be made. Having a firm understanding of what’s important to each of you and what values you share regarding your spending will help you understand each other. Don’t assume you know your partner’s spending motivations, let them tell you.
2. Take Baby Steps When You Start Talking About Money
Rather than overwhelm your partner by asking them at exactly what age do they plan to retire and with how much, start slow and easy. Begin with daily spending habits, and then work up to having those bigger life-savings conversations. Remember to pace yourself. If you dive into these topics without a firm basic understanding of your partner and their spending motivations, that mindset can lead to defensiveness, arguments, and hostility. A good place to start is by letting them know your credit score.
3. Have a Combined Money Goal for the Future
A subtle (and potentially less awkward) way to broach finances with your partner is by discussing a shared money goal. Whether this be a vacation, working to pay down debt, whatever it may, these are great ways to open up a candid conversation about money. Plus, by coming together and creating a shared goal, it created a support system for you to hold each other accountable.
4. Ask About Financial Habits
Learning about how one views finances or how they were raised (financially speaking) can tell you a lot about how they view money right here, right now. Lots of our opinions and attitudes about money come from our upbringing. Having a two-way conversation about habits and views is crucial to making progress as a couple, financially.
5. Be Upfront About Debit & Repayments
Transparency is key when it comes to debt. Debt is nothing to be ashamed of, and almost every single person as it at varying degrees. However, hiding it or not being upfront about the amount can certainly come back to bite you down the line. Coming clean about your spending can certainly one of the hardest parts of communicating with your partner, but it means being totally honest, remembering to reveal any secret spending and financial infidelities, and not lying by omission. Plus, once you have everything on the table, you’ll be able to paint a clearer picture about what your future can be like and what steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
The bottom line is that money is like a silent third partner in a relationship. Whether there’s plenty of it to live a comfortable lifestyle, not enough to make ends meet, or an amount somewhere in between, it’s crucial to be able to communicate effectively with your partner about your household finances.
Looking to develop good credit card habits in your relationship? Here are 5 habits you’ll want to start incorporating into your lifestyle which will help make all the difference!
Hayleigh Butcher is a Content Writer & Brand Strategist for Blender Networks. When she’s not managing blogs for FitMinutes, The-E-Tailer, Cartageous, InStyleRooms, NurturedPaws & Shoelistic, she’s finding a new trail to hike with her dog, Gemma or finding the best new spot in her hometown of Bedford, Nova Scotia for an iced coffee!