Talking about money can be weird. Most people are told from an early age that it’s a taboo subject, but when it comes to your relationship with your boo, it’s actually *super* important to discuss. If things are getting serious between you and your S.O. — especially if you’re moving in together — chances are the big dollars-and-cents convo is in your very near future. While finances might seem like an unnecessary detail to some, it’s actually super important to share your financial views and situation before you make any major commitments as a couple (like getting a pet together). Who knew finding your financial soulmate was so crucial? We chatted with Jean Chatzky, personal finance expert and host of the podcast HerMoney, to get her tips for ensuring the money talk goes smoothly.
WHY TALKING ABOUT MONEY IS SO IMPORTANT
Communication is a key factor in any relationship (some say it’s the most critical thing), so it’s essential for both people to be completely open and honest about their financial situations from the start. Jean notes that this truthfulness could cut down on temptation to commit “financial infidelity” later on, like keeping a bank account or credit card secret from a partner. “It’s also about being fair to the other person,” she says. “If you have extensive debt, a relatively low credit score or another money issue worrying you, it’s better to start working together on finding a solution ASAP rather than waiting for the other person to find out sometime down the line.”
Potential negatives aren’t the only thing you should be focusing on, though. “Money means different things to different people. It can be a source of safety and security, but it can also be a way to meet your goals,” says Jean. Milestones, like buying a house, traveling and investing in your future together, are all possible if you’re straightforward about money from the start. By being an open book, you and your boo can reach a whole new level of trust and security with each other just by having the convo at the right time.
WHEN TO HAVE THE MONEY CHAT
Jean recommends having frank discussions as soon as the relationship starts feeling serious. At first, it doesn’t have to be super formal, but it’s important to gather and share small tidbits about each other’s financial lives before things progress toward long-term commitment. “A person’s financial picture and past is a big part of his or her life, so it should naturally come up in conversation over time,” she notes.
Significant questions you should be able to answer are: “How did your significant other’s parents view finances? Was their choice of college based on financial aid and scholarships? Do you see them budgeting or talking about savings now?” Jean also recommends a more official sit-down talk before moving in together, and then checking in with each other on a monthly basis to keep the collaborative vibe going.
HOW TO BRING UP FINANCES
The best way to broach the money conversation is to simply dive in. “It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid,” says Jean. “It seems much scarier before you actually start.” Make a date to have the talk at a time that’s convenient for both of you so it’s not a surprise, and plan for a time you’ll both be relaxed. The most important things are to be totally honest and non-judgmental.
Have you and your S.O. talked money yet? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)