Are you comfortable discussing money with your spouse or significant other? If you said ‘no,’ you’re not alone. Money is a taboo topic for many, including people in romantic relationships. Even so, there are 6 money questions everyone should ask in a relationship.
Talking about our finances can be tough. Money is an issue that often gets tangled up with our own self-worth. Discussing our financial successes (or failures) can stir up many negative emotions: anger, fear, shame, confusion or sadness. You may feel lazy or stupid when you make a money mistake—whether this is true or not!
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6 Money Questions Everyone Should Ask In A Relationship
For romantic couples, having a serious discussion about money may make you feel especially vulnerable. Money is one of the leading causes of stress between couples, and financial arguments are a strong predictor of divorce.
This might seem like a perfect reason to never talk about money with your spouse. However, some studies have shown that couples who don’t mind discussing money with each other seem to have few fights about their finances. It could also help lessen your own worries, by sharing some of this burden with the person you love and trust the most.
Whether you’re starting a new relationship or hoping to improve an old one, talking about money with your partner could be a good idea. Here are six questions to help you start the conversation:
1. How do you use your paycheque?
Combining finances after moving in together or getting marriedmight be the first time couples really think about their own spending habits. When you’re single, it may not matter that you spend most of your paycheque on shopping trips or save every penny for a rainy day. Your decisions might only affect you, so you can spend or save as you please.
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However, once you are part of a couple, financial differences like these could lead to conflict. If you’re a saver but your spouse is a spender, this might become an issue. Talking through your habits might be helpful. You could work together and come up with compromises to help balance how you both handle your money.
2. What financial assets do you have?
Good relationships are built on trust, and this might include trusting each other with your finances. Disclosing any financial assets to each other could help you both take stock of where you’re at when it comes to your money. It might also help you feel more comfortable knowing that neither of you are hiding anything.
Your financial assets could include many things: bank accounts, retirement savings or accounts, investments (like stocks or bonds) or any businesses or property you own.
3. Do you have any liabilities?
Just as you may want to share your financial assets with your partner, you may also need to inform them of any liabilities that you have. A 2017 survey found that 28% of New Zealanders have been financially hurt by a partner. It might be tempting to hide your money troubles, but as these things are often found out, honesty may be the best policy.
Financial liabilities could include large amounts of ‘bad’ debt, such as credit cards or personal and student loans. It might also mean a property that’s headed for foreclosure or a vehicle about to be repossessed.
4. Does anyone else rely on you for financial support?
Using part of your salary to help your family might seem like a liability, but your spouse may not see it that way! People often look for romantic partners who have good relationships with their family. Helping your parents, grandparents or other loved ones may be viewed as a positive trait by your significant other.
However, it may still be a good idea to let them know, rather than try to hide the truth. The money you give to your family might impact your future goals, such as saving money for a down payment on a house. This may be important information for your significant other to have, so they can adjust their expectations and perhaps even their own spending habits.
5. What do you see in our future?
You might already have a good idea of where you’d like life to take you. This might include things like getting married, buying a home or having children. You may also want to travel the world, start a business or retire early. But do you know if your partner shares the same goals as you, or the same time frame for achieving them?
Whatever your plans may be, you’ll probably need money to make them a reality. Talking to your romantic partner about these goals can help you both figure out how to finance them. Your conversations might lead to short or long-term saving plans, making investments or figuring out how to pay down debts as quickly as possible.
6. How will we protect our shared finances?
Once you have your money sorted as a couple, you’ll probably want to protect it. Sudden death or a terminal illness could cause ongoing financial headaches for you or your spouse.
One way to help protect your shared finances is by writing a Will. This may be especially important for unmarried couples who might not have the same protections under the law as those who are married. You might also write a Will to help protect your children’s future, by naming a guardian for them or setting up a trust to help manage any money they might inherit.
You might also consider getting life insurance (or funeral insurance, if you’re older) to help protect your family’s financial future. A life insurance policy could help your spouse stay on top of household bills, help pay for final debts and funeral costs, or help other family members who rely on you for financial assistance.
A happier relationship
Discussing finances with your spouse or significant other could be the first step towards a happier and more secure future. You may not always agree on how to spend your shared money, but working through points of conflict might make it easier to compromise and avoid big arguments. Also please see:
Author: James Buesing
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