Simple Tips for Discussing Finances While Dating and Engaged

The featured image that I chose for this post is a brick wall. At first, I chose it because financial discussions create a foundation for good communication and a healthy relationship. Then I realized that a brick wall is a good metaphor for the other way that financial discussions can impact a relationship. Financial discussions, or lack of them, can act as a brick wall blocking communication and creating separation between the people in the relationship.

This is why it is really good to talk about finances early and often.

Discussing money and finances can be very scary, and I don’t think there’s necessarily a best time to begin the discussion. For my husband and I, money conversations came naturally, but we still did a lot of discussing in the abstract before we got to specifics.

Talking about things like how our parents handled money made for good driving around conversation and those conversations deepened as our relationship progressed. Being able to discuss and handle finances together is essential for a simple, happy relationship.

Here are some simple tips for discussing finances with your partner.

  • Talk about how each of your parents handled money-Whether we like it or not, we pick up on a lot of our parents habits, good or bad. When you’re talking to your partner, think about the following things:
    • Did your parents make financial decisions together?
    • Did they fight about how to spend money?
    • How did they handle things when money was tight?
    • Did they have combined or separate finances?
  • Pay attention to how he or she handles money-Paying attention to how your partner handles money will go a long way into figuring out their philosophy on finances. When you’re paying attention to the way the other person handles their money, you can start to express interest in why they make the purchases they made and open up conversations.
    • Do you agree with financial decisions he or she makes?
    • Does he or she spend money on things that you think are frivolous?
    • How do your spending styles compare (impulsive, strategic, planned)?
    • Is he or she a spender or a saver?
  • Discuss financial goals-Even though you might not be making financial decisions together, it’s important to discuss what you want your money to do for you.
    • Are your goals similar?
    • How does your partner feel about debt? Retirement? Vacations? Home purchase?
  • Dream together-This kind of relates to discussing financial goals, but it’s a little more fun. When the relationship turns serious, talk about big things you’d like to do with your money.
    • Do you want to buy a house? Pay off debt? Buy your dream car? Go on shopping sprees? Take vacations?
    • What do you want retirement to look like? Travel? A second career? What kind of lifestyle do you want?
  • Discuss big purchases-Even before our finances were combined, it was important to me to run a big purchase by my husband. I have a hard time spending money, so for me, having someone that would help me walk through whether or not the purchase was worthwhile was really helpful. If you’re someone that spends more freely, you may not need the feedback, but involving your partner in the decision is still important.
  • Communicate about salaries-Talking about money in the abstract sense can be uncomfortable enough. Getting into actual numbers can be downright scary. But knowing what your partner makes can help with discussion about what combined finances will look like. Even before we were married, we made sure that we knew what the other made which helped as we began to make financial decisions together since we knew what we were working with.

What tips do you have for talking about money with your partner?

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