Money Talk - Tips For Your New Relationship
Dealing with money on your own is hard enough, but when you add a partner into the equation, things can quickly get more complicated. Differences in salary, financial priorities and even spending habits can make you feel a bit awkward.
While you're in the early stages of your relationship, money probably won’t matter so much, but when you get more serious, it's a subject you guys are going to have to discuss at some point. Money is one of the leading factors that leads to divorce, and we don't want any of that! Talking about money is still a taboo but all the reasons for not talking about it (it’s embarrassing, it shouldn’t matter, it’s rude) are all ways of avoiding a topic that is fundamental to all our lives. Like politics, religion and health, you're going to have to share your financial situation with your loved one at some point and the sooner, the better.
One of the biggest worries of lots of couples have when talking about money for the first time is what their partner will expect. Now, you obviously can’t predict this, so just take the time to talk calmly and lay out your own expectations too. Try not to be judgemental about what their goals are, just let them speak as you have and then continue the conversation to see how your goals will overlap, get compromised or simply not fit and have to be shifted.
Though the risk of break-up is real, especially if you discover that you have completely different and incompatible life goals, the chances are that you will actually form a stronger bond because your goals are aligned. For example, if you are talking and you discover that he wants to save up and travel the world too, you might decide to start saving up together and get closer as a result. Either way, it is better to find out now than later.
The other worry people have is about revealing their debt. This is also completely understandable and having debt can feel like you have failed. However, honesty is the best policy when dating and debt isn’t about failure anyway; it’s just a necessity sometimes that you will work hard to pay off. When you are talking to someone you love, you just have to trust that they will understand and want to help you through the tough times as well as the fun times. Besides, they may be able to help you figure out how to consolidate credit cards or work out a new budget to help you save.
So, bearing all this in mind, what should you do?
Well, the first thing is to talk about money generally and just let it flow into the conversation without forcing it. Then once you are feeling more comfortable, you can talk more about your ambitions, hopes, dreams and fears regarding money and be more open about your situation.
While it's good to get taboo subjects like money out in the open, you shouldn’t feel pressured to reveal everything all at once. Just take your time, be honest about how you feel and allow the conversation to appear naturally.