This past year, I’ve attended many weddings, which is happening more frequently since most of my friends are entering that blissful stage in their life. It’s a beautiful event to witness. As I see my friends exchange vows, part of me can’t help to think “Boy, I hope they’ve had the money talk!”
I know that may sound odd, but my concern is coming from a good place, I promise. Throughout the years, researchers have identified the number one reason for failed marriages. That’s right, it’s money! More specifically, it’s the issues surrounding money that cause major problems. If things are getting pretty serious with your boo or if you are considering popping the big question, let me encourage you to have “The Money Talk.”
Why? It’s important to talk about money with your prospective spouse because it sets the foundation for your financial future together. Simply having debt should not be a deal breaker, but having completely different views on how to handle money may be. Some people grew up in a home where the husband took care of the finances, so naturally they may assume the same will happen in their marriage. Assumptions are bad!
If things are getting serious between you two, tell your significant other your reasons for wanting to talk about it. Be very clear about your intentions. Tell them you are not here to judge them, but rather learn more about them. Be honest!
How? Talking about money should not be made into an event. It should be a casual conversation and definitely not a fight. I repeat, this is NOT a fight! Discuss your money habits. Are you a saver? Do you prefer to spend money on fun things (your wants) before paying your utilities and rent (your needs)? When someone mentions a 401(k), do you stare blankly? Share your shortcomings and your goals for bettering yourself financially. Dream together! Picture your life in 5 years, then 10 years. What does it look like? Be aware that discussing money can be stressful for some of us. The discussion does not have to happen in one sitting.
You don’t have to be a financial expert to have a successful relationship. You both just need to be on the same page. If you realize you aren’t where you want to be financially, seek help together! You are about to embark on a lifelong journey together so make sure you have the serious discussions, like ones about finances, first!