Getting Financially Aligned with Your Significant Other
Getting on the same page with your significant other regarding money isn’t always easy, whether you’re in a relationship or a marriage. People sometimes assume that married couples have already worked out those kinks, but money is still the number one reason cited for divorce. Here are a few conversation starters for couples running into trouble agreeing on finances.
What is your position on debt?
Some people are much more comfortable with debt than others. Some don’t worry at all about debt, some are comfortable up to a certain point, and others are against debt entirely. Knowing and understanding that threshold is a big part of how financial decisions are made. As a financial institution, we recommend credit cards be paid off at the end of every month. But the reality is, many people fall behind unintentionally. My advice is, while it’s always ideal to have savings, look for opportunities to compromise. For example, if you really want to take a vacation but are working on your savings for it, some travel sites will allow you to make zero percent payments that are spread out.
What types of splurges are worth it to you?
Have you ever noticed that people have very specific things they’re willing to splurge on? For example, I like experiences, but you won’t ever see me in a pair of designer shoes. It’s just not something I care enough about to spend top dollar on. Knowing where your significant other loves to spend when disposable income is available can help you plan for these purchases and avoid financial pitfalls in the process. For example, if you know your significant other loves Halloween and wants to go all-in on elaborate themed costumes each year, just start saving a little bit each month now.
What does your envisioned future look like?
I recommend taking this conversation all the way to retirement and beyond. If one person longs to travel extensively without the burden of employment, while the other would rather live large now and wind all spending down in retirement, those are very different envisioned futures. Spend some time talking about this so you can determine how much or how little you should spend today.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know all the ways to achieve financial success. Pay down debts, prioritize savings, and always have a plan and a budget. But what’s simple to define isn’t always simple to execute, especially with differing perspectives on approach. These conversation starters will hopefully kick off some very beneficial financial conversations for you!
Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.