Whether you’re just beginning to get serious about each other, considering moving in together, or are currently living together and thinking about intertwining your finances, having that money conversation with your significant other can feel about as prickly as hugging a porcupine.
But it is a conversation you must have — together.
It is much easier to have that conversation now, instead of waiting until you’re in the thick of a financial meltdown over differing money views, ideas, and goals. Plus, future dreams and plans — like purchasing a home, having a family, or retiring someday — rest largely on the financial decisions you make at the beginning of your relationship.
Here are important money conversation topics to have with your significant other.
Conduct the Money Conversation Before You’re in Too Deep
Make the time before you’re married, or even talking about marriage, to have that all-important money conversation with your significant other. This can allow you to recognize potential red flags and spending changes that need to happen earlier in your relationship so you can address them before any financial repercussions occur.
The money conversation must also include a discussion about your hopes and plans for the future. Be specific about what those plans are, how you intend to save for them, whether your goals are similar, and if you share common ground to build on for your retirement planning.
The money conversation is one of the most important discussions for couples not yet married to have. At its core, it’s about finding out if you’re financially compatible to last the long haul. That means learning about each other’s buying, saving, and spending habits, as well as your common hopes and dreams.
Come Clean About Debt
You can’t undo your past. Many people, millennials especially, are drowning in student loan debts. These debts will never offer a clean slate for consumers until fully repaid. You may feel embarrassed or even a little vulnerable about that debt, especially if you weren’t able to ultimately graduate. The same holds true with the total of your credit cards and any other financial liabilities.
Debts from your past do not have to define you. Unfortunately, they will remain an obstacle between you and your significant other until you have an honest discussion.
Discuss Individual Buying, Spending, and Saving Habits
It’s essential to understand your own general habits and preferences when it comes to buying, spending, and saving. It can also be eye-opening to view your financial habits through an objective lens. You need to understand your partner’s practices, as well.
Understanding these things about yourself and your partner is critical for working together to create a financial plan that works for both of you, without leaving one or the other feeling overwhelmed and resentful over time.
Continue the Conversation
The money conversation isn’t a “once and done” ordeal. People change, situations vary, and finances shift. So, it’s a conversation you’ll need to have regularly. A monthly or quarterly review of expenses and savings is essential to keep both of you going down the same financial road, rather than one (or both of you) swerving off course.
We’re Here to Help!
From setting up joint checking and savings accounts to getting pre-approved for a home loan, we can help you get the accounts and services you need as a couple. All you need to do is stop by one of our branch locations or give us a call at 1-877-TRUMARK to get started.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact TruMark Financial when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.