How to talk about finances early in a relationship

March 27 2018


New couples have plenty of fun things to talk about, but what about the tricky-but-necessary topic of finances? Instead of avoiding the conversation, it's better to tackle money issues early on in order to avoid problems later. Here's how to discuss finances in a constructive way.

Values and Emotions
Understanding your new partner's history with money as well as the emotions involved can help you better understand them. Beyond talking about how the restaurant bill should be shared, ask how their family handled money or what their biggest financial hardship has been. This conversation can easily segue into one about how you can improve your saving habits together or overcome any financial insecurities.

Future Plans
Once your relationship becomes serious enough to discuss the future together, sit down with your partner to talk about your plans and goals. Do either of you see yourself relocating to another state or country? Are you planning to start a new business or career? When do you want to retire?

Also discuss what you'd do if one person lost their job or received an unexpected inheritance. You may be surprised by what this conversation reveals -- all the more reason to have it sooner rather than later.

Finding Balance
It's also worth speaking honestly about what would make both people happiest when it comes to spending and saving. Some couples keep most finances separate, others eventually merge completely, and many fall somewhere in the middle. You may not be ready to make any changes yet, but it doesn't hurt to start off on the same page.

Money is a common source of tension in many relationships, even when things are still new. By taking the time to talk things through now, however, you can set the tone for success.

"Rule No. 1 : Never lose money. Rule No. 2 : Never forget Rule No. 1." Warren Buffett

"I try not to borrow, first you borrow then you beg." 
  Ernest Hemingway