Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and I wanted to talk about love and money. You may be wondering why we’re discussing relationships in a personal finance column. It may not be romantic but, it is important to discuss personal finances in a relationship. If it hasn’t come up then bite the bullet and talk! Delaying discussion may seem nice for now but ultimately you are just putting off potential conflict.
Money is a difficult topic for many people to talk about and rightly so as it is a heavy issue. As Dr. Moira Somers says “discussions aren’t all happening from very rational front cortical structures in our brain.” It is easy to be provoked or act unexpectedly since money history and money lessons can be deep-seated in an emotional place.
Dating provides a great opportunity to learn about each other’s financial habits. While you learn more about each other, you can figure out what each person excels at and where you can work out differences. If you’re moving in together for example, make sure you are both well aware and practicing the fundamentals of budgeting.
As you become more committed in your relationship, there are additional things to discuss with regards to money and personal finance. Just as people recommend you build IKEA furniture together before you get married, showing each other your financials is another step. Look at bank statements, credit card statements and credit scores. Again, totally unromantic but once you are married, you are seen as an entity under the law so it is best to know all about each other.
When you are (happily) married, there is a whole other set of issues that could arise. Typically partners are bringing in different levels of income. When you need to update your wardrobe for example, you have to make sure your lifestyle lines up with what your income is in reality versus in your dreams. It is easy to split everything between “yours” and “mine” but at the end of the day, it is “ours.” You are in this partnership for a reason- it isn’t a competition. You want to make sure you are both getting what you want in life.
According to a recent survey by Seymour Management Consulting, 47% of participants said money worries cause them extreme emotional stress and 37% said they have conflict or arguing with their partner/spouse about money matters. Continue or start the discussion with your partner. It will alleviate stress and help you maintain your relationship.
If you are unsure or you don’t want to figure it out on your own, there are many fee-only financial planners who provide a complimentary introductory meeting to help you figure out what your need and how to proceed. Get started with a fee-only financial planner at XY Planning Network Canada today!