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Money matters


How to talk to your partner about money.

Splitting the bill. Doing the groceries. If they shout this time, it's your turn next time.

If you think about it, we’re navigating conversations about money from the get-go when we’re dating someone new. But for many of us, that’s as far as it goes when it comes to talking about money, especially at the start of a new relationship.

Being able to talk about money with your loved one is important, especially before you get too serious. Here are our tips on broaching those all-important money conversations.

Getting serious? Start talking money

You’re dating, you’re having fun, and you’d rather not bring up the fact that you have credit cards or other debt to pay off. What if the person you’re getting to know doesn’t see eye to eye? It can be easier to skirt around the issue, but experts say it’s better to find out sooner rather than later if you’re financially compatible if you can see the relationship going somewhere. Especially when you consider that money is one of the leading causes of stress in a relationship.

The good news is, once you get the conversation started, it becomes easier to keep it going.

How early should you start talking about money?

Good question. If you’re chipping away at significant debt, you don’t want to spring that on someone on the first date – but leaving it too long to mention may make a new partner wary about what else they don’t know about.

As a rule of thumb, experts suggest you start to give your partner an outline of your finances as soon as you know your relationship is serious – and you definitely want to have your money habits, financial practices and debts on the table long before you decide to move in together or get engaged.

The first few months will also help you figure out whether your partner is a spender or a saver, and how financially compatible you are. For example, if you like to budget and save for big ticket items, while your partner relies more on credit or loans and is struggling each time pay-day rolls around, that’s a sign you have different financial values – and the relationship might struggle long-term.

How to broach the money subject

Sharing details about your financial situation and encouraging your partner to do the same can be an effective way to get started. Questions like these might help:

  • How do you feel talking about money?
  • Here’s what I make – how about you?
  • Do you have any debts you’re paying off?
  • How was money handled in your last relationship?
  • How should we manage our finances as a couple?
  • Are our money habits compatible? How do you think we can meet halfway?

Managing your money going forward

Having conversations about money and being transparent about finances can help avoid stress down the track and bring you closer together.

Instead of handing over control, agreeing to make joint decisions on all financial decisions will help you both have an equal say.

If you’re moving in together, you might consider opening a joint account and each contribute a set amount to cover rent, bills, groceries or other shared expenses. An emergency fund or joint savings account could also help you meet financial goals you’ve set together, like saving for a home deposit.

It’s also worth thinking about your financial situation and how you would handle your money if your circumstances change and you find yourself living on one income. A financial planner can help if you need advice suited to your specific circumstances.

The more you negotiate the ebbs and flows of your money in the beginning, the easier it’ll be to deal with any financial curve balls that come your way as a couple.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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