The matters of the heart and money may look mutually inconsistent prima facie, but are they really? Not in today’s time. In fact, money is the “leading cause” of strain in relationships. So, however awkward the conversation may be, it is important to be on the same page as your partner, especially if it is a serious relationship. Financial compatibility is one of the most important considerations for men and women alike. In a survey conducted by The Economic Times, as many as 89% of the respondents agreed that it is essential to have similar financial habits and attitudes.
Financial compatibility is much more than just earnings or previous debts. It is more about the approach couples share (or don’t) on important concepts like savings, investments and spending patterns. There are important financial considerations that each couple should freely discuss at some point in their relationship. Here’s a handpicked list of a few important aspects that should essentially figure in any financial talk:
Important financial talks to have
- Debt management and previous financial health
Existing debt is a critical area of consideration, especially if you are planning your future together. It will not only reflect on your credit score but will also potentially affect all your future investments and financial goals, like buying a house or a car together.
Previous debts, if not managed properly, can be a source of huge problems not just financially but personally as well.
According to Economic Times, as many as 78% of people claimed that they dont mind sharing the previous debts of their partners.
- Spending habits and savings
Your spending habits influence a huge part of your lifestyle and your future. Unfortunately, dating apps don’t come with filters to segregate the shopaholics, the cautious buyers or the spendthrifts. Therefore, compatibility on this front becomes even more important once you start dating, because it will directly impact your life as well, influencing what kind of restaurants you go to for your dates to where you plan holidays to.
- The aftermath of shared purchases
In case you are buying a house together, or planning to move in together, planning to invest together, it is important to know the effect a separation or divorce may have on decisions. It may seem cynical to many, but it will save both of you a lot of legal hassle and mental stress if you have sorted these issues from the get-go.
- Actually sharing the shared expenditure
As a couple, you’re likely to spend a majority of your time together, which invariably means that you’ll pay for each other at some point. From who is picking up the bill after your dinner to who is paying for the house rent or for the trip abroad, every expenditure counts, whether big or small. Having a clear conversation about it and shouldering responsibilities (in whatever manner both of you mutually agree) goes a long way in making it a happier and stronger relationship. A relationship is built on equality and mutual respect, after all, even in matters involving money.
When is the right time to have “the” talk?
Tiptoeing around the money and finances topic is a recipe for a disaster. Having said that, asking a person about his/her salary or their previous loans may well send them running for the hills. Needless to say, these matters need to be addressed, but in a regulated and tactful manner. An essential requirement is that in any money conversation, you are able to get your point across in an open and non-judgemental manner.
There is no straightjacket formula of finding the right time to have your financial talk. It is highly subjective and depends upon the bond and level of comfort you both share. However, start off easy, with smaller topics like day-to-day expenditures and try and bring these things up conversationally.
Conversely, discussions on having a joint account, shared purchases, previous debts et all should be done before you decide to get hitched, rather than stumbling upon something like a large student loan that your partner is currently repaying after you get married. Erin Lowry, a finance professional at Broke Millennial calls these small steps getting financially naked: “Sharing our numbers didn’t mean we suddenly swapped ATM pins and ran to get a joint bank account. Instead, it provided a foundation in which we could create hypothetical scenarios about how to handle money if we decided to get married (an important conversation to have after [several] years of dating).”
If you have been seriously dating for a considerable time, it is important to be on the same page, at present as well as with respect to the future.
It is not essential that you and your partner share the exact same spending patterns or financial goals. But, it certainly helps if they’re complementary and not a deal-breaker for each other.
An effective way to not let your differences get in the way of your relationship is by managing your finances effectively. You can probably use a financial planning service or choose to do so yourself by way of getting yourself neobanking services like Salt. With all kinds of financial assistance and banking services available at just a click, this will be your one-stop solution for all your financial and banking needs. Hopefully, Salt will assist you in elevating the health of both your finances, and your relationship.