There are many important firsts in a relationship: first kiss, first time you meet their parents, first fight...
These can all be very emotional, and maybe a little scary. But what should NOT be scary is having a conversation about the big M.
When is it time to talk about finances?
Moving in together
Co-signing on a large purchase
Losing or getting a new job
Unexpected medical bills or other emergencies
Thinking about making this a looooong term relationship (yes, the other big M)
Why Should You Have This Conversation?
This is a part of being in a mature, healthy, and respectful relationship with anyone.
Being open and agreeing to certain money conditions will make it easier for the two of you to overcome financial problems you might face.
It is also important to have a plan for YOUR money! While not everyone might learn financial literacy in the home or at school, it is so crucial to have a steady foundation on the basics like:
how a budget works
taking out loans
using credit cards correctly
planning for your retirement
Two heads are always better than one, and working together to determine who really is The Spender and who is The Saver will keep the good times rolling.
Talking about money might be hard for one or both of you if you have seen other couples fall out from money problems. It is important to be respectful and agree to work towards a solution instead of just hoping it goes away.
What To Do And What NOT To Do
Remember that this is a serious topic, but one that can still make you laugh as you go through it with the one you love.
What to do:
Come prepared with your goal in mind. Do you want to save money? Pay off a debt? Go on a vacation with them? This will keep the conversation focused.
Write down your income & debt (if any) and your average spending for one month, like your bills, eating out money, and a savings account you have. That way, you can have it all in the open for them to see.
Ask questions to understand where they are mentally and financially. This might be a HUGE step for them, as they could have had a bad experience with an ex when it came to money.
What not to do:
Not plan for this conversation. If it's important enough to talk about, it's important enough to plan for! You'll feel more relaxed if you prep yourself.
Lie! You both deserve honesty in your relationship. Perhaps you have a huge amount of debt and are afraid to tell them. Lying will lead to problems, so be truthful about any concerns you might have.
Start off on a negative note or make accusations. Don't accuse them of spending too much money; instead, make suggestions on how they can cut back on expenses.
You're ready to talk about money with your partner, but they've just had some bad news about a family member. What should you do?
Internet To The Rescue!
Simply type "How to talk about finances with my partner" into your search bar for loads of articles on the topic.
Other ways to use the web to your advantage:
With your partner, search for videos where financial gurus explain the importance of budgeting
Check your investing or brokerage account (or open one online!)
Find editable sheets to track your debts and income, or planners that can be used to save money for something special like a vacation
The possibilities are endless!
Once you feel it's a good time to have a conversation about money, plan ahead with these simple tips and you will have a productive talk:
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