You’re in love and you must deal with the issue of money in your relationship because as we all know, according to attorneys, money issues are the number one reason that relationships fail.
When should you talk about money in a relationship? Well, certainly not on the first date, but as soon as you are pretty sure it looks like love is in the air and you’re going to be moving into a relationship, “let’s talk about money.” The sooner, the better; within, say, the first two or three months.
If you’re already in a relationship, the time to talk about money is now.
What should you talk about?
Over the course of your life, you have developed certain beliefs and ideas about money which are deeply entrenched in you. For instance, you either believe that money I generally in short supply and there is not enough of it to go around, or that money is energy, comes quickly and easily and is in abundant supply.
Beyond those, you might ask, “What kind of money person am I?” unless you already know, and what type of money person is your partner? You needn’t be of the same money type to have a successful relationship. In fact, it is likely that you will have a higher quality long-standing love affair with someone who is unlike you in terms of their money type.
Understanding this, and being respectful of your partner’s belief systems, you are ready to go to the next level of the money talk, which means being open and honest and disclosing your financial affairs.
It’s not uncommon for one or both parties to bring some debt to the table. This should not be a surprise. Full disclosure is important, or else it will be the focal point of conflict in your relationship which could have been avoided.
The largest debt coming into a relationship which can cripple a couple’s potential is student loan debt which can be 50 to 100 thousand dollars or more and can be manageable. So, get it out on the table and discuss it. There are some creative ways to deal with student loan debt, like student loan consolidation (look around, resources are available, such as www.consolidatecollege.com).
Another debt which is usually visited upon a new relationship (or a periodic challenge in an ongoing relationship) is that of credit card debt. It’s easy, depending on your money type, to rack up a sizeable amount of credit card debt. It creeps up on you and can quickly spin out of control becoming unmanageable. Non-profit and for-fee agencies are available to assist in consolidating your credit card debt so that you can get a handle on it.
What’s my credit score?
You should know. When you’re talking about getting serious get to know your credit score, and your partner should know about his or her credit score also. Each party should be responsible for his/her own credit maintenance. You don’t want to wait until you go to buy something to find out your credit score is lacking or has been compromised; then it’s too late. Stay on top of it. There are many online resources, some are free (or say that they are free, then lure you into a subscription, so be careful), some are fee-based. Find one that is suitable for your situation.
By all means, do not avoid talking about money issues. Find ways to engage talking about money issues. Make watching a regular TV show about money issues, then talk about what caught your attention. Pick a book about money issues and read through it together, talking about it chapter by chapter, honor your love and your relationship by going through this process, even if it’s uncomfortable, but do something… anything! Don’t let this issue of money be the undoing of your relationship.