Talking about Money in Relationships
By Jennifer Cramer Lewis, Business Wisewoman, Trendsetter, Maverick
When your heart is fluttering, and you can’t stop thinking about someone, the last thing on your mind is, “Are we compatible financially?” However, it might be a great idea to know at the very beginning of a long-term relationship if you really do have what it takes to truly share your financial lives and prosper together.
The following are questions that you may wish to ask yourself and your significant other about your potential, or current financial relationship to ensure you’re compatible now and in the long run.
Question #1: Do I actually want to share my money with this person?
It’s a candid question. Do you really see yourself sharing your financials with this person, showing them what you have in investments, jointly purchasing items, buying real estate together? If you don’t, that’s not a disaster. Coming from a place of what is mine stays mine, is fine too. Many couples choose to sign co-habitation agreements stating just that. How bills will be handled. Where finances stay mine and yours. Does this sound too scary to even contemplate? If you’ve gone through even one bad argument about money, you will know that it’s best to be clear about money immediately. Would knowing more about how you would like to be with this person financially add more to what you could create together? Co-habitation agreements are no longer only for the wealthy.
Question #2: Do I expect them to share their money with me?
Yes, it is possible to ask someone to share their money with you and not expect to have to or agree to share back. Legally it becomes less of an option when you have lived together for a certain amount of time or actually get married. The accumulation of assets after a certain time frame become community property. This is more of a values-based question. Where do you stand on sharing their wealth with them? Is this compatible with how they see themselves using their money, sharing their money? Does that work for you? What future do you see you creating together financially? Is this congruent with what is actually there right now
Question #3: Are they a spender or a saver or balanced?
What are their spending habits? Do they binge spend? Are they overly thrifty? How does that work for you? Do you find yourself picking up the check because they penny pinch and it drives you up the wall? Do you notice that their lifestyle does not match the amount of money coming in? Not from a place of judgement but from awareness of whether their spending habits are compatible with yours. Living with someone who spends too much of their paychecks and has no money for the basics and the bills becomes a chore very quickly. That may not work for you long term. This is a recipe for disagreements. Having awareness of how a potential partner uses their money is key to creating a future with money in it for yourself.
Question #4: Do they have any financial skeletons in their closet?
A bankruptcy or two? A giant student loan debt? Alimony or child support? Credit card debts?
These may seem like very personal questions for you to ask, but also necessary for you to know if you are going to be sharing your financial future with someone. Part of creating a co-habitation agreement can be sharing a financial balance sheet with each other. I remember not knowing my fiancé had a large student loan until we were married! When you marry someone, you are marrying their finances too. My first husband and were not financially compatible and it took its toll on our relationship. We did have many other qualities as a couple but not being financially compatible made it impossible to create a future together that allowed us both to grow and prosper.
Whether you decide to ask these questions to your partner or not. Use them as an awareness of what questions can create financial clarity for you. Ultimately having money becomes a choice that we make every day. To choose to have money in your future is a kindness to you and a kindness to any future relationships that you may choose too. What awareness can you have now about a future that is financially healthy and prosperous?
Originally Published by The Business Woman Media https://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/talking-about-money-relationships/ July 16th, 2018