Picture this: You just started dating someone and it’s going really well…until the subject of money comes up. How soon should you discuss finances as a couple? Some people say right away, some say never and others say it’s best to let the subject come up naturally. What do you think?
The Benefit of Bringing Up Finances as Soon as Possible
Some couples like to lay all their cards out on the table from the get-go. This can absolutely be an asset to your relationship because you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into from day one. It can be extremely discouraging to spend time dating someone, fall in love with them and then find out they have tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
If your potential mate’s financial situation is a deal breaker then it’s probably best to bring it up as soon as possible. Then comes the next question, how can you bring up personal finances without seeming intrusive, judgmental or as a gold digger?
How Does the Subject of Money Come Up Naturally?
The answer is, don’t force it. Wait until a money situation presents itself such as planning a vacation or buying a car. This will allow you to scope out your partner’s saving habits organically. You definitely don’t want to start the day by asking how much money someone has in their bank account, that’s not great pillow talk. However, if you set savings goals together and check in on them from time to time you’ll get a sense of your mate’s money management skills.
If they haven’t saved enough money to meet your joint goal this opens the door to a discussion towards spending habits, budget management and personal views about money. If you’re a saver and your spouse is a spender you can help each other find a happy balance. Sometimes the best way to change your finances is to learn from someone else.
Should You Avoid the Subject Altogether?
Many couples base their relationship on openness and trust, money is just another part of it. With that being said there are couples who keep their money completely separate and it works just fine for them. There is no rule that says joint accounts have to be opened, credit cards need to be applied for and assets have to be merged just because you get married.
If managing your money separately works then go for it. Keeping your finances separate is by no means an indication of trust (or lack thereof) in a relationship. Couples have to do what’s best for them. As long as each person is living up to their financial commitment in the marriage and contributing their portion towards expenses there is no harm in keeping money separate.
Considering money is a major source of stress for couples and it’s also one of the top three reasons marriages end. If you have experienced difficulty in your marriage because of financial issues, there are resources that can assist you with talking to your spouse -- good marriages don’t have to end because of money issues.
At CESI, we want you to skip the money worry. If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. empowers people to overcome their financial challenges and lead financially-healthy lives.
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