Financial strain is one of the biggest causes for contention in a relationship. Differing opinions on how much to spend, what to spend it on and so forth can cause serious issues, and in some cases, divorce.
The fact of the matter is money is high stakes. People have different backgrounds and relationships with money that often affect their relationships. People get frustrated about money and if it is tight, tension is abound.
But you can save your relationship by having the money talk early, preferably before you get married. Don’t want to wreck the mood with chatter about finances? Do it before so there are not surprises later.
Here is what to talk about before getting hitched:
These questions can be tough, but you need to learn the financial history of your significant other. History can include debt talks, savings and credit score. You need to establish a history so you know where things have been, where they are and where they are headed.
Does your love have a nest egg saved in a 401(k)? Or how about stocks? You are not a gold digger by asking these questions. If you are marrying someone who has nothing saved for retirement, wouldn’t you rather know now than 15 years down the road?
When talking about savings, figure out his or her saving style. The focus doesn’t have to be about specific numbers. Does he save 15% of every paycheck to go into retirement, or is saving a new word is his vocabulary? You need to know if money is specifically being set aside for special things or if you must rely on your own savings. Knowing his saving style will help you manage problems later in the relationship and will eliminate any surprises.
Spending disputes can be hard on a marriage. If one person is always spending while the other is desperately trying to save, there will be serious disruption in the relationship.
If you have been dating a while, you can probably already tell if you are dating a spender or a saver. There are pros and cons to both. But what you really need to look at is if your significant other is following a budget. This will help you see if she is living within her means, or overspending.
Come clean with debt. Nothing feels more like a bait and switch than if you were to get married and find out your spouse still has $50,000 of school loans.
Talking about debt is more than just saying what you owe. You also need to look at the payment plan and ask how your significant other is working to pay it off.
Banking as a couple
Financial issues should be discussed as a couple. Long gone are the days when the husband only deals with the finances while the wife lives in oblivion. Decide if you want a joint bank account or separate slush funds. Determine a credit card policy that works for your relationship and budget together. Making this a joint effort will make it less of a war and more of a union.