Ready to secure your happily ever after? Having these six money-related conversations will help you do just that.
Arguing with your partner every now and then is a given. But while the odd row over who left the butter out this time can be easily swept under the carpet, some conversations are clearly more important, with money being one of them - and no, we don’t just mean the time old debate about going dutch on the first date!
Finances aren’t necessarily fun at the best of times. And fighting over them certainly isn’t any more enjoyable. So, to make sure you’re on the same financial page as your other half, we’ve come up with six money-related conversations you should have at various stages.
1. Financial values
A person’s financial values can come in many forms, and they can also play a big part in the health of your relationship if you are or aren’t compatible. When we say values, we mean things like:
- Are they a saver or a millionaire payday spender?
- Do they donate to charity if and when they can?
- Do they enjoy the finer, more expensive things in life?
- Can they be frivolous and/or wasteful with their money?
It might not seem like it in the early stages while everything’s new, exciting and in the honeymoon period, but having completely different financial values to your partner can cause a wedge as time goes by.
Picture this, for example. You’ve been together several months. You’ve floated the idea of booking your first summer getaway. So, you start stashing away some of your salary each month to book something nice. Your partner, on the other hand, continues splashing their cash willy-nilly and doesn’t save a dime. As a result, you don’t end up going. Grounds for a couple’s tiff, right?
2. The C word
Now it’s definitely not first date material, but the C word - credit - is one that certainly needs bringing up when things start getting serious.
We’re by no means suggesting it should be a deal breaker if your partner has a less-than-perfect credit history, of course, but the knock-on effect it could have on things like taking out a mortgage or joint loan, for example, is one that should be considered. And, the sooner it’s discussed, the sooner you can start putting steps in place to improve your joint position.
3. Moving in
Living with your other half is an exciting stage in any relationship. But, alongside the excitement comes several big tests.
Yes, that includes who’s turn it is to do the dishes and put the groceries away, but it also raises lots of financial questions and considerations too, like:
- How will you split and pay the bills? Will you cut it down the middle? Or will the split be reflective of your incomes?
- Will you set up a joint account for emergency savings? And if so, how much will you vouch to put in each month?
- After you’ve set money aside for bills and savings, are you both free to spend your remaining money as you please?
- If things don’t work out and you break up, how will you divide any shared belongings? And will you split any savings accumulated 50/50?
4. Tying the knot
Getting married is a lifelong commitment to one another, and can take money conversations from the here and now and transform them into talks about what will happen in 5, 10 or 15 years down the line.
One simple question can change your chats from “shall we start saving for a new dishwasher?”, to “how many children do you want?”, “how much do you want to save for retirement?”, and “do you have life insurance?”, so it’s important you’re both prepared for and understand how your finances can impact the other, and that you both have the same bigger picture in mind.
5. Starting a family
Once you have children, they become the centre of everything - and that’s no different for your finances. Now we’re not saying you need to go into panic mode and start mapping out the child’s 16-year roadmap as soon as you get your positive result, but there are several key conversations you and your partner need to have throughout the pregnancy and upbringing, like:
- Do you need to start setting money aside for essentials like food and nappies?
- Can you afford childcare? Or will one of you become a stay at home parent?
- Are you comfortable bringing a child up in your current neighbourhood?
- Will the child go to a public school? Or do you need to start saving for private education?
6. Writing a will
It’s not a thought any of us like casting our mind to but, inevitably, one day we’ll no longer be around. To make sure your partner and children (if you have any) get the money, property and possessions you want them to, it’s important to have a will in place - if you don’t, the law will decide who gets what.
It’s also worth noting that if you and your partner aren’t married, they aren’t legally entitled to anything, making the presence of a will increasingly important.
When the time comes to draw up your will, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your other half to ensure you’re both singing from the same hymn sheet, and are prepared for what’s to come should the unthinkable happen.
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