My husband and I had our first fight about money the weekend we got engaged. We were driving back from our romantic engagement trip and he told me his dream was to own a house in the country one day. I casually mentioned that I thought that was a waste of money. We ended up having a long fight about financial (and life) priorities. It was tough but we worked it through.
Money is often the last thing couples talk about before getting married or moving in together. I know someone who’s been married for several years and still doesn’t know how much her husband makes – she’s too nervous to ask.
But money should be one of the first things couples discuss when they decide to make a long-term commitment. That’s because money is a big part of setting life goals – do you want to buy a house? If so, where? Is your dream to own your own business or retire early? If you and your partner aren’t good at talking about money, then it’s going to be tough to get on the same page when it comes to making long-term decisions like these and others.
Here are a few very basic things you and your partner should learn about each other before you take the plunge:
- How much do you both earn?
- Do you have any debt? How do you plan to pay it off and how did you accumulate it?
- Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years career wise?
- Have you started saving for retirement and if so, how far along are you?
They might seem like really basic questions, but you’d be surprised what you find out about your partner – and how many people don’t take the time to ask these questions early on.
Bottom line – if you don’t feel comfortable talking about these things with your significant other, then you might not be as ready for commitment as you think.