Want To Talk Finance?
Is it time you talked about finances with your significant other? There are many factors that play into dating and romance. And, believe it or not, finances is one of them. As financial expert Suze Orman once said:
“Everything in life is determined by your FICO score when it comes to money. I want you to FICO first then sex… It’s not till death do you part, its debt do you part. When you get into a relationship, you are never to cosign on a loan for anybody ever. Over a nice glass of wine, look at your credit reports. If the person doesn’t want to do that, that is a sign. There’s nothing that will bring you closer than being on the same wavelength finically, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually speaking. All of those things have to be clicking for you to have a good relationship.”
But how do you start that discussion with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or romantic interest? What are the best ways to approach the topic and follow it through? Here are some tips to help.
1. Figure Out Your Questions Ahead Of Time
Whenever you plan to have a serious conversation with someone, it’s important that you first take time to figure out what exactly you want out of the conversation. What information are you specifically looking for? What answers are you hoping to hear and which ones are you hoping not to hear? Where are your hard “nos” in terms of finances with lovers and where is there room to bend and relax? What money goals have you placed for yourself? Do they need to follow them as well? Will your answer to these questions change as the relationship evolves?
If you think it’s an appropriate time to start talking finances with your partner, create a list of topics you want to cover. This could be debts, credit scores, emergency funds, views on daily spending, and/or more.
2. Discuss Perspectives On Money
Of course, everybody’s human and everybody can see money differently. That’s natural. When you approach your girlfriend/boyfriend about finances, don’t come in judgmental or aggressive. Come in knowing that you might disagree on certain perspectives and financial views.
But let’s take it one step farther. You can also use this as an opportunity to understand your lover more. See how they view daily expenses and understand which expenses are important to them. Do they like fashion? Then maybe going to a clothing store and buying something on sale is an important purchase to them? Did their upbringing with their parents teach them certain things about money? By understanding their spending habits and perspectives, you can get to know your partner more.
3. Start Early On
But when should you start discussing finances with your lover? Certainly, that’s not a first date discussion. So instead, wait a few dates to begin approaching the topic. But, you don’t want to wait until you’re married to find out her lover has a great heap of debt. We say, bring it up calmly and casual while you’re a few dates into the dating phase. Find the right time to do it before there’s a problem but not before there’s a longstanding relationship between you too.
4. Start Small
Adding to that, the level of the relationship equals the appropriate level of money talk. Start your discussions small by talking about the simple thing and easy basics. “Are you down to get dinner tonight?” “I can’t afford to go on a getaway date right now.” Open up financial conversations through easy segues like that.
Plus in today’s world, most people have debt of some kind. So, talk about that in a casual way. For instance, college debt is fairly inoffensive, especially in the U.S.A., because so many people have it. Once you acknowledge these topics, you can then build up to tackling bigger issues like how to erase that debt or any attitudes towards money or spending.
5. Make a Money Date
As the relationship gets more serious, these financial conversations should become more serious too. If you’re in a regular relationship and your finances are becoming more tied, you might want to set up a money date. Ask your partner if they have time to meet and talk about money. If you're making a date and meeting of it, most likely this is gonna be some serious talk, such as combining finances or tackling financial challenges.
6. Think “We”
As you get more intimate with your significant other both emotionally and physically, you should also get more intimate financially. Eventually, the “you” of your finances will transform into a “we.” Do “we” have enough money to go on vacation, go to grad school, and so on?
What’s important with this “we” is that you take the other person into consideration in you’re your financial decisions. That also means listening to each other and your perspectives on whatever challenge stands before you. AND you should also be conscious and considerate of mistakes. Whether “you” or “I” made it, financial mistakes happen. Now, how are “we” gonna fix it? This is an important perspective to have as a relationship grows.
7. Focus On Each Other’s Strengths
But as with other parts of a relationship, it’s important to keep some individuality going. While you want to celebrate the “we,” you don’t want to lose the “I.” To help that, be mindful of each other’s strengths? Is one better at budgets and spreadsheets? Great! Is one better at enjoying the simple things and the joy of spending? Also, great! Is one good at setting up and easing into tough conversations surrounding finances? Wonderful! Acknowledge and champion each other’s strengths! That way, you can claim and master your finances together.
8. DO NOT LIE
Lastly, it’s important that you don’t lie. Relationships are built on communication and trust. And lying about finances is an EASY way to break both of those things. Not only that, but lies about finances will eventually come to light. That’s especially true if the relationship grows and continues. And think about it. If you want your partner to be open and honest with you, you should do the same for them.
That way, you both can enjoy a happy and healthy connection in a spiritual, romantic, sexual, emotional, and financial way.