When choosing a partner, there are many things to consider to decide whether you’ll be a compatible match. Many couples discuss personal belief systems, politics, past relationships, future goals, and overall expectations for the relationship.
Talking about all these things is wise if you’re in a new relationship or starting to date again.
But you don’t want to forget to discuss another subject: personal finances. Whether you blend your finances with a partner or not, having financial compatibility can be beneficial.
Taking time to determine if you’re both a solid financial match can save you time and stress. Here are a few ways to determine if you and your partner are a good financial match.
1. Discuss your spending and saving habits
It’s essential to discuss your individual spending and saving habits openly. While you don’t have to have the same money management style, if each person has very different financial approaches, it may result in incompatibility.
For example, if one partner is a big spender and the other is a big saver, serious financial concerns and disagreements could come up down the road. By talking about this early on, you can avoid uncomfortable (and potentially expensive) surprises.
2. Be open and honest about existing debt
Having debt can be uncomfortable, but it’s not something to hide if you’re involved with someone and plan to share your life with them. Credit card debt and educational debt are two of the most common types of debt people have, so don’t be ashamed if you have debt.
But it’s not fair to your partner if you’re dishonest about your debt — so don’t try to hide it. Each person needs to know what type and how much debt exists before putting a lot of time and effort into the relationship. Having this conversation can also help you both determine how to pay off the debt to eliminate it faster.
3. Discuss your short-term and long-term financial goals
When it comes to money, many people have short- and long-term financial goals that they’re working toward. Examples could include establishing an emergency fund, paying off debt, and saving for a down payment for a home.
Discussing your individual and shared financial goals is an excellent way to determine if you’re a good financial match. It can also open up a broader discussion about goal setting, allowing you both to establish new money goals as a couple.
4. Review your credit scores
Your credit score shouldn’t be ignored, even if it needs work. It’s an essential factor that can determine what kind of loans you qualify for, like if you ever want to buy a car or a home.
You and your partner should know where each of your credit scores stand. If you need a loan in the future and intend to apply for one jointly, and your partner has a much lower score than you, it could impact your shared financial situation. Don’t let discomfort keep you from having this discussion.
5. Discuss financial expectations
Not every relationship is the same. What works for one couple may not work well for another. Before getting far into a relationship, it’s a good idea to discuss your financial expectations to avoid disagreements in the future. Here are some questions to ask yourselves:
- Do we plan to merge our finances or keep them separate?
- Will both of us share financial obligations?
- If we both intend to contribute financially, will one partner pay more than the other?
- If we plan to have children, how will we manage that financially?
Being on the same page about financial expectations early in your relationship is essential.
Don’t delay the money talk
At first, talking about money may feel uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean you should delay the conversation. Having difficult money discussions with your partner is healthy and can be a win for your relationship and finances.
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