Like everything else in your relationship, it all boils down to communication. Your quest to find the right person may include someone with a pleasing personality, someone whom you share interests in, someone who gets along well with your family and friends, and other factors that affect your chemistry. As your journey to the “one” comes to an end, you must remember one crucial component: money.
Money has been known to be a leading cause of stress in relationships. This topic is often off-limits, and many couples steer away from conversations involving one’s financial situation. Maybe you are skipping money conversations because you do not want to deal with the consequences of your spending habits. Or, perhaps you have been dating for less than a year and you fear that bringing up a serious topic is going to put a pause on your fun times.
When in a long-term relationship, it is important to discuss your finances with your partner. Everything would not simply work itself out. Your relationship with money will take effort and time.
#1: TALK ABOUT YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY MANAGEMENT
What are your partner’s views on spending and saving? Start the conversation with a non-judgmental tone. You can also share some examples of past experiences that may have influenced your current views and behaviors surrounding money.
This is where you and your partner will go in-depth into how your finances look now and whether your financial habits and views are compatible with one another.
#2: ELABORATE ON YOUR MONEY GOALS
Say you have always dreamed of owning a flat, and you want to do it sooner rather than later. You may want to forgo large expenses such as a European vacation or paying rent near the city-center. Is your partner on board with the plan? Is she or he ready to purchase a flat with you? You need to talk about your money goals and work together to accomplish them.
#3: DISCUSS YOUR ASSETS AND DEBTS
Let us face it! The reality is that, even if you and your partner do not combine finances now or ever, your partner’s money situation is going to affect yours. Do discuss your assets and debts. Big expenses and potentially thousands of dollars of debt can impact any short-term or long-term plans you have.
#4: ASK IF YOUR PARTNER PAYS BILLS ON TIME
If you always pay your bills later, this could affect your ability to borrow money. Your inability to borrow money can affect your future plans with your partner. To check your credit, consider requesting a copy from one of the reporting agencies or your financial institution.
#5: DECIDE HOW YOU ARE GOING TO COMBINE FINANCES
Some couples choose to set up a joint bank account as soon as they decide that they are in it for the long haul. While others have kept their money separate for their entire lives. Decide whether you are going to combine finances or not.
No matter how you structure your accounts, a joint spreadsheet is a helpful tool to keep track of your household expenses and income. Remember that you can affect each other’s financial situation, especially when entering matrimony.