Talking about money with your sweetie is seldom easy or comfortable and even less so when the romance is young. So, when and how do you broach the subject of money, credit, and finances? Just to be clear, the wrong answer is “after we’re engaged or married.” You must love yourself, your sweetie, and your financial future enough to start talking about it early on in your relationship, but please, not on the first date. Somewhere between the first date and engagement is the right time, but what does it look like? I’m no relationship expert, but I am a credit expert and have talked to lots of couples over the years, so here’s my advice on balancing the love and credit conversation:
- Make it fun. What? Fun? How is a conversation about money and credit fun, you ask? You can make it less traumatic by starting to discuss money and credit values little by little. A great way to start is by talking about your individual dreams for the future – owning a home, what kind of retirement you’re planning, or the vacations you’d like to take. All of these things take money so you can begin to gather clues about how your sweetie views money and credit and whether it jives with your values and practices. Keep in mind that most married couples fight about money so in the formative phase of your relationship, you must decide whether your values about money and credit can mesh.
- Keep it real. As time goes on in your relationship and you decide to cohabitate or start buying things together, know the facts about opening accounts jointly. Your credit score is based on your personal credit history. However, when you open a joint credit account with another person, that debt is included on both of your credit report. You each are fully responsible for that obligation until it’s paid in full. This is fine when times are good, but if there’s a break-up and your former sweetie decides not to pay the bills, it’s reported on your credit report as well.
- Practice makes perfect. Talking about money with your sweetie is necessary the more serious your relationship becomes. If you value each other and yourselves you need to also value talking about money, credit, and finances. The thing is that the more you do it, the more comfortable it will become. Just be honest with one another that it’s a tough subject! And you may find, as many of my clients have, that talking about money, credit and planning your future together will bring you closer and deepen your relationship. So, keep practicing!
A couple that talks money and credit together, stays together. So although it may at times be a difficult subject, it is important to make it a practice early on in your relationship as you plan your future together. And even if you’ve been together for a long time you can too use these tips to make it a habit to come together more often to talk about your finances. Believe me, give it a try! You’ll thank me later!
Cheers to love,