Couples always tell me about the epic fights they have regarding money matters. It’s such a touchy subject, they say. But why is that?
Why are people so afraid to discuss money?
Why wouldn’t it be something that you naturally speak about with the person you love before deciding whether or not you’ll be compatible for the long run? Before you “tie the knot” and bound yourself together for good?
Perhaps, it is because no one taught us in school, or at home, that it was crucial to be compatible in this regard with your “potential” mate. That if we did not have that compatibility when it came to financial matters, it could cost us our relationship in the end. Many people I talk to have such a discomfort when it comes to talking about money. It just wasn’t something they talked about at home. If you had a lot of money and lived a comfortable life, then you were told not to flaunt it to others who weren’t as fortunate and you were almost made to feel guilty about having it. On the other hand, if you grew up not having it and having to struggle all the time, you were made to feel selfish at wanting it and ashamed for not having enough for the things you wanted.
Overall, “money matters” holds a lot of people hostage within a prison of feelings. Feelings they grew up with. Feelings most likely transferred from one generation to the next.
They don’t teach you anything about money or personal finances in grade school or high school, which I think is such a shame because it would help children establish their own relationship with money instead of inheriting their parent’s fears and opinions about it.
It would certainly help the young adults who are leaving the nest for the first time to go away to college. Not knowing about financial matters and all the responsibilities coming their way just adds to the fear of the unknown.
Learning about it and especially learning to talk about it in a natural, inquisitive way would benefit everyone and would remove all the taboos and emotions from the subject, and, we could then move forward in the world with confidence and ease.
Because it isn’t so, most of us end up having feelings of inadequacies and are intimidated with the entire subject of money and its gatekeepers.
But I digress…
It is CRUCIAL that all individuals have that “money talk” as they proceed with their courtship and things become more serious. If you feel that the person you are with might be “the one”, you must discuss their opinions of financial management. Here are some things to ask:
1) What type of spender are they? Are they frivolous or thrifty?
2) Do they have current debt? And if they do, how much? What type of debts are they?
3) Are other people dependent of them for financial support? Have they co-signed for anyone?
4) Do they have any assets? Home? Mortgage?
5) What are their thoughts about long term savings?
6) Are they investors?
Yes, all these questions may seem like an inquisition when you are on the receiving end but you need to know what you are getting yourself into and also be prepared to answer the same questions as well.
It might be an uncomfortable conversation but you will soon realize that it is the best way to see if you can build a strong foundation with the individual you are contemplating a future with.
It is better to know upfront if someone is frivolous with their money, has a mountain of debt that strangles their finances every month or just doesn’t share your personal financial management views before you bond yourself for life.
Yes, it may hurt to find out that you don’t share the same views on financial matters, but it is better to find out at the beginning of relationship than after a 20 year marriage where their behavior has now affected your life, your credit and your future.
So, have that conversation early on in your courtship and make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to money matters. Make it an evolving conversation that you have on a regular basis. Share your thoughts, your dreams of the future and build that road-map together. Make it a point to review your finances on a monthly basis and ensure you’re both on track.
Invest in your future, learn to be powerful together and build a strong, financially stable life, together today.
Good Luck ;)