Talking About Money While Dating
It’s so important to talk about money when you’re in the early phase of dating! You probably know that almost half of all marriages in both Canada and the US end in divorce and finances is cited as a major cause contributing to these marital break-ups.
People often feel it is taboo to discuss money issues and find it easier to ignore the topic altogether. It is really important in any relationship to be on the same page as your partner when it comes to dealing with finances. You don’t want to be surprised down the road to find yourselves having conflicting views, which can really destroy your relationship.
So when is a good time to start discussing these issues? It is never too early. As soon as you’re ready to talk to your partner about your finances, you should bring up the subject. This can be really early on, even after just a few dates or if you feel that is too soon, then after a couple of months of dating.
It can be difficult or awkward to break the ice and start discussing finances with someone you are dating so how do you begin? What I suggest, is that you set up a special “money date”.
Choose a neutral fun location rather than having the talk at home. It could be a bar or a coffee shop or your favourite restaurant…but make sure that it’s not a super busy public place so that you can at least have a conversation and still enjoy some privacy.
There are two different ways that you can approach talking about your finances. One is if you decide you’re going to be straight shooters and you’re going to share everything with each other right up front. The second is if you start to take things more slowly and gently.
Either way, you should try to turn it into a fun activity. Consider sending a cute little invite. Bring with you a set of post notes and pens.
You can go through a series of straight shooting questions like how much money do you make? How much debt do you have? What’s in your savings account?
This approach can be a quite awkward to talk about with someone you’re dating, so what I recommend generally is the gentler approach.
Instead of being direct, question number one can be concerning debt: both write on your post-it note how you feel about having debt. Other questions you could ask are: Money makes me feel……? If I have an extra $100, I would….?
After comparing your notes, it will make a good start to an open and honest conversation to see if you are compatible in your financial vision.
Another way that you can go to get the ball rolling and start talking about money is if you start to bring in some sort of third-party scenarios. Something like: “This girl at work was telling me that she’s struggling to pay her rent every single month but still seems to be spending on luxury items…. what do you think about that?” This way the conversation is not necessarily about you and your finances but getting to the root of how you both feel about your finances and sensing if your values are in line with one another.
If your relationship is starting to get more serious, try planning a shared goal together. This could be as simple as taking a weekend trip away together. Work together to develop a little mini budget which includes the cost of the hotel, transportation, meals and entertainment. You can decide to both save towards the vacation and allocate who is responsible for which expense. You can check in and discuss how you are both doing with the savings and make it a fun experience. It can be a really great way for couples to feel a bit more united when they have a shared goal, particularly around their finances.
Don’t let your relationship fall apart because of a financial conversation that you could have had. Find a way that is comfortable for you to begin this conversation and you will avoid certain conflict down the road.