Money causes major stress to many of us individually, and it’s no secret that problem multiplies when you’re in a relationship. From rent, to a mortgage, to the costs of child-rearing, or perhaps how you plan to spend your child-free savings: Different approaches to money can lead to conflict in relationships.
If you want to avoid dealbreakers down the road, it’s important to start big conversations around money as early as possible. After all, these issues won’t go away, and will only lead to resentment and tension over time. Here are the kinds of money questions you should use to see if you’re financially compatible with your partner.
How do you picture us splitting the bills?
Will you split expenses 50/50, or will the person who earns more cover more? Does your partner plan to merge finances at all? Asking this question also opens the door to how collaborative you both envision your finances to be.
What are your savings goals?
And the crucial follow-up: What are you doing to achieve them? Maybe you max out your retirement accounts every year, but your partner doesn’t share the same vision for investing in the future. Think about spending habits, too. Maybe it’s important for you to take comfort in a daily iced coffee, but your partner views that as a huge waste. Knowing both your individual and shared savings goals can help you know what to expect down the road.
How do you handle debt?
Even if you’re not married, you or your partner’s debt likely affects your relationship. Consider the following questions:
- Do you have a debt repayment plan, and how long will it take to become debt-free?
- Will the debt keep you from making large purchases together? Taking trips? Starting a family?
- If you marry, will the debt remain separate, or will it become a joint responsibility?
What would you do if you lost all your money…
…or if you won the lottery? Asking big hypotheticals is a great way to gain insight into general financial values. Things like: What if you wont the lottery—what would you do with the money? Would you rather spend your life at a job you don’t love but pays really well, or one you’re passionate about, but will never make you rich? If you had to save 50% of your salary one year, how would you do it?
Be honest if your money philosophies are too different to ignore
At the end of the day, your relationship to money might be more important than your relationship to each other. Do you spend every chance you get? Is your partner overly obsessed with saving? Learn how you both view money to help you foresee any potential issues down the road. For now, here are our tips for fostering financial intimacy in a new relationship.