Financial advisors suggest talking about finances with your partner early on in the relationship. However, learning how to talk about money in a relationship isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of people.
Whether they grew up in a household that never spoke about finances or are simply nervous about sharing their financial history with you, there are a lot of reasons why someone you’re dating might not be to keen on sharing their full financial past. And, that’s okay.
However, at some point, you’ll need to have “the talk.” Yes, the dreaded talk about your partner’s financial past, spending habits, debt owed, and everything else that involves money. Here’s how to talk about money in a relationship without hurting any feelings.
How to Talk About Finances When Dating
Start Off with the Basics
Just as you don’t dive into someone’s childhood trauma on the first date, you’re not going to ask to see someone’s credit report in the beginning phases of dating. View financial intimacy as something that you develop over time and nurture it as you would any other area of the relationship.
Start off with the basics, which tend to be the ways people spend their money. This is probably easy to see after a few months together; you’ll know whether or not your new partner spends lots of cash on entertainment, hobbies, and other expenses or if they’re frugal and geared more towards saving.
In the beginning, you don’t have to talk about specific numbers. But, do be sure to talk about finances as soon as things begin to get serious. Casually bring it up and then, over time, increase your financial intimacy to talk about things more in-depth, such as the amount of debt someone has or any major issues in someone’s financial past that the other needs to know about.
Talk About Financial Futures
One easy way to broach the subject of finances in a relationship is to talk about your financial futures. Bring up dreams and goals you have to gauge where the other person is at. Perhaps you’re planning on purchasing a home in the next five years but your partner is more comfortable focusing on paying off their student loan debt first.
This is a numbers-free way to assess where your partner is at financially. Talk about what your hopes and dreams are as they relate to money so that you can get a good idea of whether or not you guys are a financial match. And, if your goals don’t currently align, try to talk about ways that you can work together to help each other reach a common ground.
If you were fortunate enough to have your parents pay for your college but your partner had to take out $50,000 in student loans, understand that they’re at a different place than you. Perhaps you can work with them to understand that, to them, it’s important to cut back on spending in order to pay off their loans faster. Then, help them achieve that goal so you can both move on to other financial goals (like that house you mentioned that you wanted).
Think About Shared Goals
As the relationship deepens, your lives will become more intertwined and so will your finances. Even if you don’t open a joint bank account for couples or split utility bills, eventually you will both find yourselves working towards a common financial goal.
At this point in the relationship, it’s probably a good idea to talk about numbers. Talk about how much you earn, how much you owe in debt, and all of the future expenses you might incur (i.e. someone going back to school, switching careers, or taking some time off to start their own business).
Then, think about shared goals that you can form based on those future expectations. Developing shared financial goals will strengthen your relationship and help it feel like you guys are working together as a team instead of two individuals struggling to save money for a home or retirement.
Hold Each Other Accountable
Now that you know all about your partner’s financial past and present, help them work towards the future by holding them accountable. By the time you’re married (or at least thinking about it), you should have a good understanding of the debt they owe, their full income, their credit score, and their general spending habits.
Now, hold them accountable as you both work towards merging your finances and lifestyles. If your partner has trouble saving, avoid putting them in situations where it’s easy for them to overspend and help them develop a budget strategy that’s geared towards savings.
Likewise, if your partner has poor credit due, hold them accountable by sharing your credit score with them and giving them access to yours. With Float, that’s easy to do. And, you can start even early on in the relationship.
With Float, you choose how much information you share with your partner. In the beginning, grant them access to see an emoji that’ll indicate their credit range. Then, as you grow closer and begin to learn about each other’s finances, give them access to their full report.
It’s an easy way to not only hold each other accountable but to also celebrate in each other’s financial wins. Download the app today to get started.