Talking about money in a relationship can be a difficult topic to broach. Money is often such a taboo topic in the society we live in, and more often than not, we ignore our financial situation altogether. It's important to discuss money in your relationship for a number of reasons. Not only does it allow you to both get on the same page and work towards your financial goals, it builds trust and respect within the relationship, and even reveal any potential red flags. But how can we do it?
Ask 'What if' Questions
This is great if you're just starting out dating and don't want to scare your new bae away.. why not try asking a few of these questions, or formulate your own and have fun discussing the potentials..
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Would you rather work 40+ hour weeks spend money freely, or scrimp and save to be able to work 20 hour weeks?
If you lost your job tomorrow, how long could you survive?
You just got £20,000 from a surprise inheritance, what's the first thing you do?
Framing these questions this way, allows for the topics to be broad and less daunting however the answers may give you an indication on how this person behaves with their money.
Create a Shared Money Goal & Hold Each Other Accountable
If you're not wanting to bare all about your financial situation just yet, and have been seeing Pablo for a few months, why not create a shared money goal for a dream date night or weekend away? This could be super fun as you get to plan something exciting that the two of you get to share and experience together, and motivate each other to reaching the goal.
The key thing here, is that discussing money in a relationship doesn't need to be scary, daunting or boring. It can be fun, exciting and even inspiring! Planning with your partner and setting a goal together to make it happen is fun.. when you actually reach that goal the two of you get to celebrate together! Why not design a tracker together to keep each other motivated.
What Are Your Goals In Life?
Having this discussion can be eye opening! Do you want to travel the world by the time you're 30? Start a small business on the side of your 9-5? Retire before you're 50? Have a huge family?
Finding out your partner's life goals can give you a huge indication of what your life might look like together. Some of your goals might even be shared! Now your goals are out in the open, why not discuss how you plan to achieve them!
Create a Budget Together For Shared Expenses
So you've just moved in together, who's paying for what? My recommendation would to get one join account, or an online account like Monzo to use for your shared expenses. My partner and I use a Monzo account to pay for food. We put in a set amount each month that we used for the weekly food shop and takeaways.
Sit down together and work out how much you believe you roughly need to spend on food each month.. you can look back over a few months bank statements to help you get an idea of your food spends, they agree that on each of your pay days, you put in £x into the shared account.
If you underspent, take a look and readjust how much you're putting in. Likewise, if you overspend, take a moment together to figure out why, and readjust if necessary. If your partner has never budgeted before, this can be a great way to introduce the idea, before more of your finances become combined.
Want to know how you can save money on the food shop? Read: How We Halved Our Food Bill.
Discuss Different Tactics
This can be fun, and insightful. Similar to our questions round before, introduce the idea of 'This or That'.
What do you think is better? Saving or investing?
What should I focus on, paying off debt, or saving for this goal?
Would you rather retire early, or work a job you love forever?
Unlikely before, we're getting more specific about their money strategies, and you can start to dig deeper about why they chose a certain option. I love asking 'why'!
Workout How To Split Your Bills
Another topic to broach when moving in together, how are you going to split your bills? Is splitting 50/50 always fair?
This is a good question to ask if one of you earns significantly more or less than the other. There is this idea that for things to be 'fair' they have to be 50/50, but could this be putting yourself, or your partner in financial difficulty?
It might be a better idea to workout your bills proportionately to your pay. If you bring in £500 more a month, adjust your shared expenses so that you pay more. You're both paying the same percentage of your wage on bills, meaning there's less risk that one person is feeling the pinch more than the other, creating a financial imbalance.
If you are feeling the pinch, open up about this to your partner and come to the conversation with a few ideas of how you can work together to find a solution.
Be Open About Your Money Problems
When talking about money in a relationship it's important to be open and honest early on about any financial problems you might be facing. Obviously, this might not be first date material, but it's important that it's shared before the two of you think about opening a joint account. Why? Because credit score can affect your partners.
This can be vital for a number of reasons, if your partner is thinking of taking out a new line of credit soon, like leasing a car, or buying property.. Find out more about your credit score here: What Goes Into Your Credit Score.
Obviously this works both ways, so before you go ahead and start combining your finances, ask about your partner's credit score. This way you're not directly asking about debt or past money mistakes which they may not be ready to discuss yet, but it means you get an idea and can decide whether to wait before opening a joint account.
If you have serious debt, you may benefit from a 'money date' which i'll discuss more in the next section, but here are the important things to note: Come to the conversation prepared. Your partner is likely to have many questions, so have statements ready, and even have a plan lined up for how you aim to tackle this. One key piece of advice I once got from a previous boss, was that if you're going to come to him with a problem, also come with a solution.
Arrange a Money Date
Want to get serious about discussing money in your relationship? Now is the time for a money date! Name a time and a place, and come prepared.
Things to bring to a money date:
3x months bank statements for your 'every day' account.
A copy of your current budget (if you have one).
Your current savings totals, and details of the things you're saving for.
Details of your debt, the amount, interest rate, current pay off strategy.
Any investments you have, and details of your current investment plan.
Your credit score, and how you plan to improve it.
A list of your top three financial goals.
Your favourite finance book or resource.
This is going to open up so much for you both! You will both be on the same page, everything is out in the open! You can discuss your spending habits, how you like to budget, how you plan to pay off your debt.
Come to this meeting with an open mind. There is no blame culture here. Any problems you have, come prepared with at least one possible solution. Share this and ask if your partner has any recommendations. Ask what they would do. You're a partnership now, you work together.