The idea of the relationship between love and money is so complex that it has been tossed inside out on many different occasions. However, it is important not to take a superficial approach to the role of money in a relationship. While the abundance or absence of money does not and should not dictate how you feel about your partner, it does help to take a look at your financial compatibility before saying “I do”.
Financial compatibility does not imply that there must be a balanced net worth on either side for the union to work, but rather that attitudes to money and money-related issues should be explored to avoid conflict in the future. The following 5 questions can set you on the right path to discovering if your financial personalities helps or hurts your compatibility.
1. What is your financial personality?
It is a fact that different people have different attitudes to money. Some people are uncomfortable operating without a budget, while to others the idea of planning how much to spend or save is completely foreign. While you may be blissfully unaware of your partner’s spending habits before marriage, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise if you discover the love of your life is constantly living from paycheck to paycheck.
2. What are your goals for the future?
Almost all goals have financial repercussions. While you may be aware that your partner dreams of quitting his day job to work from home or travel around the world, you might assume that this is a vision for retirement only to realize that the time frame is a lot closer than you had envisioned. These dreams and goals affect both parties and certainly need to be discussed before walking down the aisle.
3. How much debt do you have?
An alarming number of couples only discover the extent of their partner’s debt situation after marriage. Debt can put an excessive burden on a new marriage and affect the credit scores of both partners. This is especially problematic if the person that is in debt does not see clearing off their debt load as a priority.
4. How much money do you really make?
While you may be able to get some idea of a person’s income by looking at their lifestyle, if this is your only indicator it can be very misleading. Your loved one may be relying on credit to supplement income shortfalls or they may be dependant on an allowance from a family member that might very well stop once your marriage vows are spoken. It is also a mistake to assume that someone with a decent job title makes above a certain income. If you are going to merge your lives, it should not be too hard to bring up the issue of income to have a better idea of how your new household can be managed.
5. Who will take the lead in financial matters?
One spouse may be more financially inclined than the other, but it is important to have a conversation about how you expect things to work once you are married. There is no prescribed method to manage your household finances. Some couples prefer to keep their accounts separate, others bring everything together. Whatever you decide must work for you and your spouse but your arrangement should be brought up before you actually tie the knot.
Financial compatibility can be a major contributor to the success or failure of your marriage so it is worth your while to explore these issues instead of sweeping them under the rug.