Finance Talk with your Partner from Sense to Save

Monday, January 23, 2012

When to talk about finances with your significant other?

Blogger Sheer Blind Luck at My Financial Goal had a great question:

When you’re dating someone, at what point do you start talking about money? My boyfriend and I know each other’s habits, but I don’t feel right talking to him about what I think he should do with his money. For example, he was looking at laptops until he found out that he wont be getting a stimulus check. He said “maybe they have a lay a way program”. I said “or you could put it into savings and see if you can find a better deal later on?” and he stuck his tongue out on me. Oy, money and drinking are probably our only challenges (right now). When do you take that next step?

I think the point where it’s appropriate to take the next step and start discussing each other’s finances comes at the point where it will directly impact your own finances.

For example, if your boyfriend buys a laptop, but he doesn’t share expenses with you (bills, groceries, etc.) then it’s pretty much his business at that point.

However, you’ve noticed that he was interested in making a purchase without having the means to pay for it. That’s a big red flag, and if you two are serious in your relationship and plan to marry someday, it’s a topic worth discussing.

And, if you do become engaged, you absolutely have to have a series of discussions about finances before the wedding.

Topics should include exactly how much debt each of you have, how much in savings, your financial goals, and plenty of “what if” scenarios asking what each other would do if faced with certain situations.

It’s important to know each other’s attitude toward debt and budgeting. Are your views the same?

Finally, setting up a budget is key. At first, your joint budget will change often since it can be difficult to predict your first few months of finances as a married couple. Be committed to revisiting your budget throughout your marriage.

What do you think?

From the blogosphere:

Have the money talk before marriage (a guest post here)

Money and marriage: 7 things I have learned so far at Christian Personal Finance

Marriage and finances: Til death do us part? at Clever Dude

Lies, Money and Marriage at Gather Little by Little

Marriage and money 101at Kiplinger’s