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The early stages of a relationship are full of wonderful feelings as love starts to blossom. As feelings for one another begin to deepen, and you realize that the relationship could be heading in a more serious direction, there comes a time when you must talk about more serious things with your partner. One of those things is money, which can be quite a difficult conversation to have.
Some people get a little crazy when the money conversation happens. You might not know the right questions to ask or the best way to ask them, and you might not be comfortable answering some of the questions that your partner asks you. After all, money is one of the top reasons couples often conflict with one another.
However, the money conversation is a challenge you must both ultimately face when things start getting serious, and hopefully, you’ll both be able to talk about finances and your future in a calm, productive and cooperative manner.
Consider first how you feel about money and what your own plans are. What do you expect to with your finances, and what do you expect financially from your partner? How do you feel about debt? How do you feel about your partner making more than you? Does it matter if you are the sole provider? When you know the answer to these important questions, you’ll be better prepared during the actual conversation.
Be upfront and honest about your own financial situation. If possible, during the course of the relationship, let your own financial beliefs and situation be known. This will help to provide your partner with information beforehand and limit any surprises.
Watch your partner’s spending habits. Are they financially responsible, or do they always seem to need money? Have they mentioned anything about debt, or too many bills they can’t pay? Do they have wildly different spending habits than your own? These may be topics of concern to talk about.
When you finally do decide to talk about money (or perhaps your partner brings it up first), be sure to take the time to listen to what they have say. Don’t just dominate the conversation with what you want and expect.
It is rare that two people will agree on everything about money, saving, debt, etc. A strong relationship, and eventually marriage, means compromise, and that includes when it comes to making decisions about finances.
When you talk about how you are with money, what you would like to do and what you expect, back up your statements with reasons why you think it’s viable to do what you do regarding money. For example, if you expect to put aside a certain amount each month for savings, explain why you think it’s important to do so. Likewise, when your partner talks about what they would like to do, ask them why. You might find yourself agreeing with their explanation and money beliefs, or you might better convince them of your own.
Talk about your current financial situation, what level of recreational spending you can comfortably handle, and what you expect to be able to save. Talk about debt you or your partner might have and how you both can handle it, and offer solutions like using credit repair companies to fix credit scores or help them consolidate their debt. Talk about plans for retirement savings, and any additional money-related topics, such as how you feel about using credit cards.
Remember, money is an important topic, but it doesn’t always have to be a topic of conflict. Have the courage to talk about it with your partner in a constructive manner, and you may find that together you can both benefit from the conversation.