Relationships are complicated. That may not be the most insightful phrase, but it’s succinct and accurate. It’s one thing to figure out how we’re feeling from an emotional standpoint, but it’s a different thing altogether when we try to bridge those feelings with the realities and more concrete aspects of human nature.
Finances and spending habits are personal, discretionary, and highly defensible...just like a relationship. Here are the top three reasons why you should talk about money sooner rather than later with your partner:
Not only is important to find hobbies in common with your partner, but it’s important to have complimentary spending habits as well. Or, at least, to make sure that you both value the same things and have similar goals. Do you both want to buy a house? Retire well? Live debt-free? These are things that make sense to talk about before making commitments to each other.
Be constructive with each other, and try to agree on a long-term vision, which will help curb poor decisions.
Ask ‘what makes you happiest?’
Theoretically, there are millions of things that make people happy that are free...love, time, friends, family, good health, a morning sunrise, and so on. However, money is one of the biggest enablers allowing you and your partner to enjoy some of these things, right? You noticed that we left children off the list. From one perspective, kids are free. From a realistic perspective, it takes a whole lotta money to buy diapers, food, and that kind of happiness for eighteen years (or more).
The happiness-financial quotient really comes into play when you consider the work/life balance part of the financial piece. How many hours do you/your partner need to put in? How many hours would you like to put in?
As they say, the only inevitabilities in life are death and taxes. If you’re in the relationship for the long haul, you need to know what this other person’s financials look like. Are they tip-top with a financial advisor managing their portfolio, or are they embedded in a pyramid scheme and haven’t paid taxes for three years?
Ok, those are a little dramatic. But dividing roles and responsibilities is unavoidable for long-term relationships. Answer questions like who pays what bills, should you have joint accounts or separate accounts, what’s the level of risk tolerance you’re willing to take, and so on. As you have these conversations, remember that these aren’t reasons to stop pursuing a relationship. But they might be indicators for the future.
Money isn’t the most romantic topic in the world but it is something that can make or break a relationship. With half of all marriages ending in divorce—and ‘finances’ consistently ranking as one of the top stressors of a relationship—it makes sense to try to get on the same page early in a relationship.
What other reasons would you want to reach out to your partner to discuss finances?