Today we will look at a sensitive topic…. Money. You may say we’ve been talking about money all along. And you are right. But today we will look at having the ‘money talk’ with your significant other.
Many of you may be wondering when the appropriate time to talk about money with your partner is. Should you wait until after you are married, before engagement, on your third date? Well the answer is…It’s totally up to you! It is advised however, that money be discussed before things get too serious so that you can lay the right foundation for further conversations as your relationship progresses. Whenever you decide to have the talk, it is critical that the discussion is open and honest, since money affects every aspect of our lives and being on the same page with your partner, when it comes to finances, is an important ingredient in maintaining a happy healthy relationship.
Here are a few important factors to consider as it relates to money in a relationship:
Spending habits: What are your partner’s spending habits? Are they a spender or a saver? Do they buy on impulse or are they very meticulous with their money. How do they treat you, are they selfish and depend on you to always pick up the cheque when you go out, or are they willing to spend on you? How do they handle their bills-are they always in arears and constantly borrowing from friends? If they borrow from you, how long do they take to pay you back? Do they even pay you back, or pretend to forget about the debt. The answers to All these questions will paint a vivid picture of your partner and will help you understand what your partner’s relationship is with money and if it meshes with yours.
Share your numbers: How comfortable are you divulging your salary, expenses, debts with your partner? The more serious you are, the more important these details will become, as they affect your financial future together. It makes no sense being afraid to discuss debts etc and then finding out later that you are inheriting large amounts of debts that you may not be able to pay, especially if they were taken for frivolous reasons. Not being honest about money can cause huge rifts in relationships. Knowing each other’s income and expenses from the get go can help in managing expectations and help you decide if this is a relationship that is worth your time and effort.
Discuss and set your financial goals: What do you hope to achieve? Are you interested in asset accumulation e.g. real estate, do you like to travel, will you like to purchase a house, or do you intend to live in an apartment downstairs of your parents’ home for the rest of your life? All these will determine what you do with your money. This is exactly why discussing your financial goals is important. Your objective, ultimately, is to create a healthy, harmonious and long-lasting relationship — and open honest discussion is the only way this can happen.
For people in relationships, especially long term relationships, the topic of money/finances is not one to gloss over; it’s a topic that requires deep and honest discussion or else it can lead to major disagreements and heartaches in the long run.
Until next time…..Gerlan