November 4th, 2013

4 Conversations Couples Should Have About Money

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4 Conversations Couples Should Have About Money

Let’s face it. There are more romantic conversations to have with your partner than one about finances. But the “money talk” is important to have, no matter what stage your relationship is in. Financial problems can cause tension between partners– surveys often find money is the number one reason couples argue. So how to do you know what money conversations you should be having with your partner? This really varies depending on how long you guys have been together. Here are some suggested conversations for different stages of your relationship:

When You’re Dating

In the beginning of your relationship when you are getting to know each other, focus conversations around financial habits. One conversation gaining popularity these days is the “what’s your credit score” talk. It might sound a little personal, but this question can lead to a larger conversation around money. A person’s three digit number can reveal a lot about their financial history. It can tell you if your partner is good about paying their bills on time or how much outstanding debt they may have. If you don’t know your credit score, use Credit Karma to get your credit score for free. Of course, you don’t need identical scores to be soul mates, but being open and honest about to your money habits will help when the relationship gets more serious.

Before Moving In Together

Before you start packing up your stuff to move in with your significant other, make sure you have the “how are we going to split up and pay the bills” conversation first. Moving in with someone is a big commitment, so before you do anything, figure out how you and your partner will divvy up the household bills. Maybe you guys will decide to each take ownership of different bills. Or you’ll open a joint account—each contributing to the account and paying all joint bills from that account. Remember, there is no right or wrong way, as long as you both are comfortable and agree with the plan.

Getting Married

When you both realize it’s time to make your relationship “official” and get married, you should have the “how are we going to manage our money” conversation. Before the wedding, take the time to sit down and discuss if you will merge your money, keep it separate or do a little of both. Again, there is no right or wrong way, but it is important to find what works for your family and stick to the plan. Another part of the money management conversation should be discussing your budget. First, talk about what has to be paid each month—household bills, debt and savings contributions. Once that is done, discuss together what you want to do with the extra money. It is OK to set money aside to splurge every once in a while, but those splurges should probably be on something you can do together.

Planning for the Future

Providing for a family and especially children is very costly these days. Once you’ve decided to start a family, it is a good time to have the “saving for college” conversation. This is a big financial decision that will affect the entire family’s future, so you both want to be on the same page. First, ask each other how much of your children’s tuition (if any) you’ll want to cover. Then, look over your current financial situation and see how much you can reasonably put towards a college fund. Having this conversation early will give your money more time to grow through a college savings plan like a 529 plan.

Bottom Line: Having money conversations throughout the different stages in your relationship can help minimize financial surprises. Start today and your relationship will thank you later. Good luck!

 

Amy

Amy Leone is the Public Relations Coordinator at Credit Karma. Before joining the team in June 2012 she spent most of her career as a TV news producer. When she’s not helping promote Credit Karma on a variety of media outlets, she’s probably out running or exploring her new state of California.

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7 Comments

  1. I don’t think 2 people should move in together or start a life without having this talk, seeing how they’re both doing financially, how they’re gonna pay for stuff, what their goals are. Money is a very important aspect in our lives so, even if it’s not really romantic, it’s surely a topic that needs to be discussed openly.

    dojo at 7:08 am on November 5, 2013
  2. Financial conversations are ongoing. “Futures” are decades long and your idea of what that means evolves. Couples need to acknowledge that they will continue to grow and change and what they wanted after marriage, after kids, after an empty nest, etc. is going to continue to evolve. The important part is to keep the conversation going.

    Holly at 2:34 pm on November 16, 2013
  3. The money talk is probably the most dreaded yet most important talk between couples. Financial matters place a lot of strain on a relationship, especially if one partner is pro-saving and the other is pro-spending. Before forming a serious relationship, it’s wise to agree on a common financial strategy and goals (like saving for a house, starting a family, vacation, emergency fund, etc.)

    Fehmeen at 7:58 am on November 24, 2013
  4. Yes, it is absolutely critical to continue to discuss finance at various stages within a relationship. I would also add that early on it is very helpful to have some discussions on what drives us financially and where we get some of our financial perspectives. We often aren’t even aware of our own financial lens, but we all have them, and they make a very big difference when working out finances as a couple.

    Miel at 5:14 am on December 8, 2013

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