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Relationships & Money: When to Have the Talk

Money Talk Relationships CoupleI know. When you are in the throes of a new relationship, the least sexy thing on your mind is pillow talk about money. But since taxes are on everyone’s mind at this time of the year, I figured it was a great time to discuss when and how to go about approaching finances in your relationship.

Finances are tricky. Some are great with our money and use it to create retirement nest eggs and save for future travel adventures or our dream house. Others are more spontaneous spenders, dipping into their stash of funds to pay for in the moment purchases.  While there are benefits to both methods, it can cause a bit of an issue when the two types are in a relationship and fail to communicate their money views.

When you’re serious about the relationship and your partner shares the same feelings, there’s no reason why the both of you shouldn’t be able to share your viewpoints on your personal approach to spending and saving money, especially considering that finances has often played a leading role in divorces. When you’re single, your decisions regarding finances don’t really affect anyone but you, but when you’re in a relationship, it’s always a good idea to get your partner involved in a way that benefits both of you.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples discuss finances BEFORE they become relationship woes. In fact, there are times that money issues start before the wedding with the cost of dating to the soaring costs associated with the big day.  In fact,  77 per cent of Canadians polled said  they wouldn’t marry someone bad at managing their finances.

The way you control your finances affects every tiny bit of your everyday routine. It impacts what you eat for lunch, what type of apartment you live in, what kind of clothes you buy and the mode of transport you use. You need to include your significant other in these decisions as the money is going to affect you both – in long and short term goals.

If the two of you feel really comfortable around each other and spend enough time together to feel like a real couple, it’s time for you to address the money issue. It’s not about being unreasonable or disapproving of the partner’s approach towards money; the goal of the money talk is to align your money views so that you can rest assured knowing that the two of you won’t have to face a monetary issue because of irresponsible expenditures and useless shopping.

So, what should you talk about when you discuss money with your honey? Here are a few tips:

Individual Financial Goals:Whether it is having bills and credit cards in your name to build personal credit to making g regular contributions from your paycheque into your RRSP will help you build a healthy nest egg for the future, these are key things to discuss about where you want to head.

Personal Spending Habits:
Are you a spender? A saver? What about your partner? What is your views on money? Coming to an understanding on how the two of you view currency will help formulate a plan that both of you can live with down the road.

What Your Owe & What You Own:
One of the more difficult conversations regarding money is personal balance sheets, or what you own and what you owe when it comes to debt. Couple that with the cash flow (how much you bring in), it can be a bit intimidating. However, it is vital to disclose this kind of information the more serious you get when dating.

The idea isn’t to impose your views on your partner. Each of you is an independent professional single with the right to make their own decisions. The money talk is mainly to help you two get to a better, mutual place of understanding that will  help you keep your expenses in line so you can both afford to do things you would love to do as a couple without worrying about one person contributing more or less than the other. By coming to a mutual approach to money management as a couple, you can save a lot for your future without compromising your respective lifestyles.

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