When Should You Talk About Finances While dating?

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When should you start discussing finances while dating.. or should you discuss them at all,

My friend and I recently had a conversation about how easy it is for us to talk with our partners about almost everything but when it comes to the money talk “dololo”. This got me thinking about whether people should even discuss finances while they are still dating or not.

I personally feel that when you begin dating someone, ultimately, their financial status is really none of your business. But after a couple of dates, and you get a glimpse of their lifestyle, you are likely to get an idea of what kind of financial person they are. Do they spend too much? Are they stingy? Do they seem to be showy and impressed by money? Are they financially savvy? etc. But you can never fully know their financial status just by studying their lifestyle, thus I feel there is a need to discuss finances while dating, especially if you see a future with them.  

The general consensus is, the money talk should occur well before a couple gets married. “Money is the number-one source of conflict among couples, particularly early in marriage,” says Orbuch, who has studied the same 373 couples for 30 years as part of a long-term National Institutes of Health study on marriage. Orbuch finds that 7 out of 10 couples report money is a significant source of tension in their relationships.

When should you start discussing money?

If you are financially savvy, and put a lot of effort in saving money and planning a future, then you should probably start talking about your money plans early on. You also shouldn’t be afraid to let your partner know how you prioritize money (or not) and how you feel about money in general. Remember, dating is about finding a match for you, someone that is compatible with you. Considering more than half of all marriages end in divorce and those divorces are usually over money. So, making sure your financial goals are aligned isn’t such a bad idea.

You should never discuss finances on your first date though, but get to know your person for a few months. As soon as you start feeling like the relationship is getting serious and you both feel like you could be potential life mates, the conversation of finances should begin. And from that on it should be a continuous part of your relationship conversations.

But remember, money talk could be dreaded or awkward to your partner for various reasons. They could be coming into a relationship with what could be considered as money baggage: due to previous bankruptcy or current debts. Thus, in such situations the money talk should be done in a sensible manner.

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How do you talk about money?

I’ve noticed that the best way to talk about the subject is through real life experiences. Say, you are planning a baecation together, then the issue of money will come up. You will get an idea of how well your money principles work together by looking at how each of you plans and spends during the baecation.

The most important thing to remember though is to be honest. No person in a relationship should be afraid to admit that they cannot afford something. It is important to remember that each of us comes from  different backgrounds and the money problems that come with it may not be easily understood. Therefore, don’t be too quick to judge.

Money talk is generally regarded as a heavy topic, so give yourself some time to get deeper into the “courtship”. Talk, for example, about whether or not going to dinner tonight fits within your budget. Once you’ve spent some time getting a better feel of how they view the small stuff like dinner dates, gradually increase the depth of the conversations to things like big purchases, savings and retirement.

According to financial experts, the last thing you want to do is marry someone not knowing a thing about his or her financial past. And if you don’t have a prenup their credit will affects yours. The money that they owe to credit cards, student loans or on car loans becomes your burden as well. These days, with so many people getting married later in life, after they have established assets of their own – it only makes sense to talk about finances before marriage. Even go so far as to speak to a financial advisor and/or an attorney and see what options are available so that both of you can preserve your creditworthiness and financial independence.

Talking about money earlier will help you get to understand what type of “financial persons” you are. If there is anything that needs to be corrected, it will be discovered earlier. People can change their money habits, and the two of you can make things work regardless of the problems that exist if both of you are honest from the get go.