Congratulations on your engagement! You and your significant other are perfect for each other, and you want to spend the rest of your lives together. But did you have the talk?
You’re probably thinking, “What talk?”
Let’s talk about MONEY. Money. Money. Money.
Although scary, money and finances in any relationship, especially a marriage, IS A GREAT indicator as to how well two people understand each other, communicate, and trust each other.
This is the best first step to take in your marriage. And for better or worse, you’ll know soon enough if it’s going to work long term for you.
I’m getting married in a few weeks and understand how important budgeting and finances are to relationships. My fiancé and I use Mint to keep everything organized and easy to access. We’ve gone through the financial talk, and I want to give you some tips on how to have that conversation. It can be a tough conversation to have, as many people are embarrassed or confused about how to talk about money openly and honestly. I will be doing a video soon with tips and advice for having that talk!
So after I got engaged, I thought what’s next? I’d bolt away with Prince charming on a beautiful horse and never think twice about paying a bill again. Yeah right!
You go from being boyfriend and girlfriend to fiancé. It’s when all these money questions came to mind. And by the way there is no straight formula to lay it all out.
First things first. My biggest suggestion would be don’t just bring it up in a random conversation. Set a day and time and make it clear that it’s going to be a talk about your finances. That way both people can be prepared.
I asked my now-fiancé, Michael, if he had ever used Mint (he knows I use apps all the time) to which he responded, “Yes, I’ve used it.” That’s how our conversation started.
Having serious and honest conversations about money is important, and you both need to be able to approach it calmly, and not as an argument. One way to bring it up is to discuss it when you’re planning to move in together.
“OK, we are going to look for a lease starting in July. We will need to have $5,000 for first month, last month, and security deposit. Let’s talk about how we’re going to save for this, how we are going to split the bills, and also how we are going to deal with finances once we’re living together.”
If your financial situation changes, such as one of you gets laid off, one of you gets a substantial raise, or a new job, or maybe you get a new large bill, like a mortgage or a car payment. Whenever a new financial situation comes up, you should sit down and talk about it, how it will be paid, how money will be saved, split, earmarked, etc. Being open and honest about money is so super important in any relationship.
Michael and I were super honest about salaries and money from the beginning, and continue to have open conversations about it now. Here’s how conversations go on in our life:
“We spent too much this month, I want to cut back on xx now for awhile.” Or “OK, I got a raise, I’m autosaving xx dollars from our accounts every month.” Or even “I’m feeling insecure because I bring in less money than you, gimme hugs.”
When you and your partner first move in together, and you are tying your lives together, you should have already had the serious conversation about finances, but in case you haven’t it’s never too late! There should be no secrets or hiding of assets in a healthy relationship or marriage.
Ask yourself who is the breadwinner, and what type of marriage are we going to have?
It is rare for two people to be making the same amount of money, so figuring out how to split up bills, how much to save, and making budgets is very important to the long term health of your relationship! Money is one of the things that statistically couples are most likely to fight about, so you want to address this head on.
Some are 50/50, where each partner works, and they contribute equal amounts and have access to a joint household-specific account or credit card, in addition to separate accounts with the rest of their money.
Others are completely separate. All accounts are separate, and everyone has his/her car payment, monthly bills, and split the mortgage/rent payment much like roommates would from their individual accounts.
And then lastly, there’s going all-in. Where everything is jointly shared (regardless of who makes what), and all accounts are shared and accessible. All of the bills and savings come from one central shared location.
There are other options too, and discussing it and making a plan is very important. Figuring out what works for you as a couple is most important, it doesn’t matter what other people do, it matters what is best for you specifically.
You and your partner need to figure out where you are with all finances, and where you want to be for your relationship.
Now that you’ve learned a few ways to bring up that conversation and started figuring out what kind of financial relationship you have or want, in the next blog I’ll talk about what to discuss in that conversation.
Check back in soon!
Jessica Naziri is the founder of TechSesh.co, a lifestyle website for women inspired by tech, with everything you need to get your tech fix, delivered in digestible and bite-sized content. Jessica’s mission is to bring tech to women and women to tech and was recently listed as Women to Watch in Tech by Inc.com.
Jessica has been a technology news reporter for The Los Angeles Times, CNN and CNBC.com. Since then, her work has also appeared in TechCrunch, The Washington Post, Mashable, CBS, The Travel Channel, CNN, NPR, USA Today, Inside Edition, Yahoo!, and Business Insider.