The topic of money in relationships can be an uncomfortable topic to deal with. There are a lot of important dimensions to tackle when deciding a life partner but one that consistently gets overlooked is “What is my person like financially”?
Though your financial chemistry may not be what’s lighting you up right now, one of the most important things you can do as a couple is to get to know each other money-wise. Finances should be talked about early in a “potentially long term relationship” to avoid larger conflicts, stress, and turmoil later.
It is no surprise that money often causes a lot of friction when it comes to maintaining our relationships. This is because money can and does give rise to the strongest of emotions – anger, fear, envy, shame etc. We all need to evaluate our attitudes to money and the relationship we have with it. Why is this important? It is important to do this because these emotions, often originating in early experiences with money, can hamper our ability to achieve our goals.
Key Questions to ask yourself and your partner
- What is your desired lifestyle?
This question helps to better understand what their expectations look like and how similar or different they may be to yours. When you’re contemplating a life together you want to imagine that life day to day and get an idea on where and what they spend their money on.
- What kind of relationship has your family had with money?
Tip: Not a first date question
This is to get a deeper understanding of their habits and preferences: where did these come from and how did they develop?
- Will you maintain separate or joint accounts: checking, savings, credit cards, investment accounts?
It is very important to know how much autonomy or transparency you will have with your finances. Will you have to consult each other for purchases? Who pays what and from which account? Will there be full disclosure of all assets, loans etc.
- What is your financial picture right now?
By asking and understanding this, we can lay the open and transparent groundwork for the financial life you’ll share. You want to understand where their money comes from, if they are in debt and how much not to get surprises later.
- Do you have any potential financial stressors?
This is mainly focusing on parents, family members or friends who might need or expect financial support.