Money is a tricky subject to talk about. Even though you’ve been with your partner for years, perhaps considering ringing the wedding bells soon, you still struggle to bring up finances. To some, they feel like they’re stepping on an issue that might shake up the stability of the relationship when they ask about money. To others, they just don’t know what to say or how to navigate the talk. Regardless of the reason, you know deep down that there’s no justifiable excuse in dodging the talk. It must happen before you say you’re I do’s. To get started on that and to make this entire thing less overwhelming, here are some questions that can come in handy:
“What are your financial goals?”
This is a broad, aspirational question, so it makes for the perfect icebreaker for this tough conversation. Let your significant another talk about where he sees himself, financially speaking, in five, seven years. Of course, with your history, you can already anticipate some answers: they probably want to get married by this age, find their starter home by that year, get their master’s or business degree, have children, and so on. Listen intently as they open up. Ask questions about how they plan to achieve such goals. More importantly, share your plans, too. The more that you become vulnerable about this tricky subject, the better they’ll feel comfortable talking about it, too. With goals laid out, you can also pinpoint the things that matter to you as individuals and as a couple.
“What’s the current debt situation?”
You don’t want to start your life together, unaware of each other’s debts. Remember, your partner’s financial obligations could affect not just your economic stability as a couple, but also the ability to make shared investments, like buying your first home. So make sure to get all the financial skeletons out of the closet, even though it’s difficult. Talk about student loans, credit card payments, perhaps child support or alimony duties, and so on. Of course, you want to discuss also how you’re both doing in fulfilling these obligations if you’re missing due dates or thriving well. If you plan to buy a home really soon though, do note that you can still do that even with debt. You just have to make sure that your debt-to-income ratio won’t exceed 43%, as advised by officers from a mortgage company in Salt Lake City.
“How do you budget?”
Now that you’ve talked about financial dreams and nightmares, you move to the middle ground, the practical part, the budgeting. Discuss how you personally manage income, daily living costs, and savings. How you handle personal money makes a lot of impact on household money later when you get married, remember. Now, if you don’t have a fixed budgeting style yet, start getting into it. You can try the 50-30-20 technique. Fifty per cent of your take-home pay goes to needs. Thirty covers the wants, and then the remaining goes to savings. Of course, you can also try budget apps and online tools. The important thing is, have a budget plan in place.
The Money Talk
Discussing finances is the least romantic thing to do in a relationship. But it’s one of the essentials to a solid, lasting marriage. So before you walk down the aisle and say your I do’s, make sure to do the money talk with your SO.