On the first date, you discuss splitting the bill. Before you know it, you’re engaged and planning a wedding.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to have the Money Talk.
Yes, talking about money can be heavy, but it’s important to have these conversations. To help you cover your bases, here are some key financial topics you and your partner should discuss.
1.Your upbringing and mindsets about money
What are your biggest financial successes or setbacks?
Do you keep and follow a budget? What do you think is worth spending, and what isn’t?
What kind of financial behavior did you see modeled growing up? How did money impact your parent’s relationships?
How did your family’s class or economic status affect your money beliefs?
The way your partners parents managed money will directly impact how your partner manages their own personal finances — and potentially yours as a couple.
Habits and emotional spending behaviors influence how we manage our finances. Do you have a scarcity mindset, where things are never enough? Or an abundance mindset, where there is always enough?
Share your budget and the process you use to make spending decisions. See if you each consider yourselves more a saver or a spender, and how that will affect your dynamic as a couple.
If you and your partner are not comfortable with one another’s views on finances it can be good to seek out a financial coach or advisor, who can help you gain clarity around both your needs and wishes regarding future money decisions.
2.Life and financial goals
What are our shared major life goals? Does this include starting a family?
How do these goals impact our lives, our careers or incomes, and our finances?
What financial actions will we need to take to support our shared goals?
In addition to understanding your financial pasts, it’s also important to look ahead to your shared future. Asking questions about your partners’ life goals and dreams is helpful in understanding what is important to them and more than likely has financial implications.
In these conversations, you can talk through your big financial priorities — and how to make these dreams a reality.
3.Debts and credit history
What kinds of debts do you have, and what are the details for those accounts?
Do you make minimum payments, or are you working to pay debt down faster?
What is your credit history and score like?
You share everything: debts, savings, investments, goals, money baggage, or financial anxieties.
This should include a full inventory of all debts you each owe: the types of debt, the balances on each account, and even the interest rates you’re paying. From there, you can talk about how you have each been managing and repaying debts — and if or how that might need to change in the future.
4. Managing money together
Do we want to fully combine finances or keep some accounts or funds separate?
How will we share the responsibilities and tasks of managing household finances?
Walk through your views and feelings about sharing finances or keeping them more personal and separate. Then you can start getting into the specifics of what money or debt will be shared and what will be separate, and how you’ll each share in the financial responsibilities of your household.
5. Other financial obligations
Do you have financial obligations outside of yourself, such as supporting a child or family?
You should also cover whether you are financially supporting your parent(s) or expect to in the future. Finally, don’t forget to bring up any outside obligation or circumstance that could affect your finances, like owning a business.
Yes, talking about money can be challenging. Just remember: As you progress through these discussions and learn more about each other’s approaches with money, you’re setting a financial foundation for the rest of your lives.