Love is in the air! This Valentine’s, are you going on a date with your special someone or planning on meeting someone new? Depending on where you’re at in your relationship, it might be a good time to determine if you are financially compatible – if you haven’t already.
While some people are hesitant to discuss touchy topics like money, money management and savings goals while dating, it is more critical than many couples in the early stages of a relationship realize.
The first and second dates are not generally the problem. It is the later dates when you begin to explore the possibility of a long-term relationship when more in-depth conversations about money and money management need to take place.
Starting the Conversation about Money
Money can be one of those uncomfortable topics to discuss when dating. Unfortunately, dating someone who is your financial opposite could lead to long-term relationship hardships and a difficult ending for both of you.
Determining early on whether you are financially compatible can help you decide if this is the person for you. While it’s just a date today, it could quickly turn into something deeper and more romantic. Understanding a potential partner’s experiences with money, ideas on spending money and savings goals can go a long way toward deciding if this might be “the one” for you.
Start with a simple question about debt. It might not be a comfortable conversation, but it can help you gauge the approach of the other person.
For instance, student loan debt is a good segue into a much broader discussion about debt and paying bills. You could begin with your student loan debt and how you are managing your payments before asking your date about their experiences and opinions.
Another way to determine if you’re financially compatible is finding out what your date’s long and short-term savings goals are. Not only will this help you determine if you are looking for the same thing, but this also gives you an opportunity to discover what’s important to them.
For example, if you’re saving for an eventual down payment on a house but your date prefers to blow through cash on the weekends, you might not be in alignment. This may not be a dealbreaker but knowing where your date stands is important to keep in mind if you want your relationship to last.
Overcoming Financial Issues
The best way to deal with money issues is open and honest communication. At some point, you must sit down together and discuss your situation, income, expenses and your approach to managing debt, saving and spending.
When you get to the stage of budgeting together, you need to have clear expectations and understandings to save you both from emotional and financial pain. Take advantage of simple to use budgeting tools that take the guesswork out of figuring out both of your budgets.
No rule says you need to have to have your finances entirely under control before beginning a relationship. Many people are just starting to learn the ins-and-outs of their money while dating. However it’s important to find common ground so you can build long-term goals together.