You and your significant other have been together for a while. You have met the parents (and they like you…hopefully), you leave stuff at each other’s homes, and you’ve even claimed each other on social media! Sure, you have done all of the public things to show your significant other and the world that you care about your relationship but have you taken the necessary steps to reduce stress and drama in your relationship from a financial standpoint? I will be honest with you; having the money talk isn’t fun or comfortable, but it is enlightening and crucial to all serious relationships.
I bet you searched him on Google and scoped his Instagram page when you were first getting to know him. Outside of being curious, you wanted to protect yourself by getting a head start to any red flags. Simply put, you wanted to figure out what you may be getting yourself into. No judgment, it’s smart and we all do it. If you protected yourself in the beginning, why wouldn’t you protect yourself now that things are getting serious? Starting the conversation does not make you greedy or look like a gold digger. In fact, it shows that you are looking at this relationship for the long-term. Former Secret Service agent and Cosmo contributor, Evy Pompouras’ gives advice about reading people in any situation, which will come in handy when you have the conversation with your beaux. Pompouras says, “don’t openly judge, even if you don’t like what they have to say. When people feel your disapproval, they will filter themselves, hold back information, or shut down”. Remember you both had a life before your relationship and both of your financial decisions up until now will reveal that. If you are ready to get serious about your relationship you should also be ready to get serious about your finances if you haven’t done so already.
FIND OUT EACH OTHER’S SPENDING & SAVING STYLE
This makes sense on so many levels. This is not a situation where you are trying to figure out if he is a spender or a saver, but more so how he spends and how he saves. This may be an eye-opening revelation for you as well since most people do not generally look at money and relationships in those terms. Are you financially compatible? Does your super saver style clash with his overspending?
KNOW THINE SELF
In the midst of “The Talk” you may start to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before. It is easier to see red flags in others than it is to see in ourselves. You may find areas of yourself and your financial situation that need to be cleaned up… not for him or a relationship, but for your own financial security. This is the time for you to take some responsibility for yourself, review your debts and assets, and come up with a personalized financial plan.
HELPS YOU PLAN FOR A SHARED FUTURE
Let me first say that a shared future does not necessarily imply marriage. A shared future looks like whatever you want it to look like as long as you two are in it together. Some couples will move in together and will have to decide who will pay what. Others may continue to live separately and your money talk for the future may include more social decisions. How often will we go to restaurants, movies, concerts, on vacations? Who will pay for what? Or for those who see wedding bells in their future, well you should get in the habit of having weekly money talks and a review of how finances coming in and going out are affecting the household dynamic. You don’t want to be the woman who hides shopping bags in the trunk of her car, but rather a woman who proudly shows off the goodies that she bought with financial confidence.
PREVENTIVE CARE FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP
If I told you that you could reduce the chance of burning yourself using a curling wand while creating date night hair just by using the little black gloves that come with it, would you use them? How about if I showed you the hands of someone who burned themselves because they didn’t use a glove? Would you be more likely to use a glove then? Probably, even if it was just for a short time. Well, what if I told you that having the “money talk” and the subsequent follow-up talks with your significant other will reduce the chance of financial stress and lessen the risk of break up? How about if I followed up stories about real relationships that burned because of money issues? Would you have the talk, then? Think about it like this, taking these steps becomes preventive care for your relationship. Beyoncé said if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it. I’m telling you if you like it then you should put the black gloves of your relationship on and have the talk! Save your relationship before it needs saving.
So you now have an idea of what you are getting yourself into… remember this is just the start and you should have several follow-up conversations. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will be well worth the effort in the end. We were seriously dating the first time the Mr. and I discussed money in detail. It was slightly difficult to start the conversation because I didn’t want him to think that I was only after him for this money. I explained to him that I was needing reassurance that we were financially compatible and I wanted to introduce a sort of financial intimacy into our relationship. He was open to it and so was I. If you have never discussed personal finance with your partner, I encourage you to not let another day go by. If you are starting the conversation TODAY and don’t know how to start, check out this list of questions that I reference every time the Mr. and I have “the talk”.