Money plays a major part in all relationships rather it is platonic, business, or personal. Yet when looking for a potential mate most do not discuss finances in the early stages other than surface because it can be seen as “gold-digging” or taboo. On the other hand, you want to know what a person’s attitude towards finances are and what their goals are. In the age of wanting to leave behind generational wealth and live comfortably, you have to know the questions to ask a potential partner. So here are 6 areas that you should discuss with your potential partner and lifelong mate before you dive into a relationship:
1. Financial Goals: Like any other goal, financial goals are imperative in any relationship. Here are a few questions that you need to ask a potential partner: Is homeownership important? Do you want to own a business? If you already own a business what are the goals of the business? How often do you want to travel? What is your retirement plan? You not only need to access a 5-year financial plan but an endgame as well.
2. Student Loans/Credit Card Debt: In a long term commitment, you will deal with money problems and it will cause stress on yourself and your companion; it’s inevitable. Student loans and credit card debt are the top two that plague people in reaching the “American Dream.” Debt can slow down or block a lot of financial goals that you want to achieve. Be mindful of a potential partner that is not concerned with getting rid of debt because they are more than likely to rack up more debt in a relationship.
3. Budgets/Impulse Buying: See a cute pair of shoes, a nice watch and you want to buy it but you’re on a budget, do you buy it or not? You should trust that your potential partner will stick to the budget discussed to reach your financial goal whether that’s to get out of debt, buy a home, invest in a business, etc. If your potential partner is an impulse buyer and does not care about a budget then they need to learn about the importance of temporary gratification and long-term payoff.
4. Financial Infidelity: Oh yes, there is such a thing; just like any other infidelity. Since this is a potential partner you are asking for past financial infidelities. Such as hiding gambling debts, hiding purchases that rack up credit card debt, secret bank accounts, etc. This infidelity breaks the trust in a relationship as any other infidelity. A potential partner who is capable of that may feel comfortable with lying in other areas which is something that you need to access so tread lightly with someone who has not made the necessary changes to fix their financial infidelity.
5. Combining Bank Accounts: Even if marriage is not what you and your partner would like to do, combining bank accounts and living together is a big step in the relationship. Since the money will be coming from this one account you have to decide what percentage of your paycheck will be combined. Also, be very clear on how much you make at this point, and all bills you have separately to get a general idea of the sum of your monthly spending.
6. Spending Too Much on the Wedding: We’ve gotten to the big bang and if marriage is the course that you and your partner have chosen to take the previous 5 steps have prepared you for the wedding questions. Yes, this is a big day but it’s just one day! What’s really important is having a long-lasting marriage. So why would you want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a few hours? The money that you spend can be invested in other areas of your life. Yes, you want it to be nice and presentable but it doesn’t need to be 500 people with a top chef, live flowers, a 100,000 wedding dress, and a 30 plus wedding party. Be mindful of how you want to budget your wedding even if you want to have a bigger wedding there are ways to cut corners and be realistic with your potential partner about the goals of your wedding and compromise.
All 6 of these areas need to be discussed in depth and may divulge into subcategories according to your relationship and terms. These are guidelines to open dialogue on finances before choosing a potential partner and a unique method to take away the taboo of asking money questions upfront.