Lots of couples move in together or even get married without knowing a thing about their partner's financial past. This can be a recipe for marital (or financial) disaster. At the same time, it's tough to open about your financial situation when you're not even quite sure what that means. Here are some specific questions to ask when sharing your financial past with your partner.
Photo by Jennifer Corrêa.
We've told you the basics you should cover when initiating the money conversation with a partner. But one area you want to thoroughly explore is how you've each handled money in the past. After all, if one partner is bringing excessive debt into a marriage, that can throw a wrench in your holiday budget. Or, if one of you has an incredibly low credit score, that can thwart your plans to buy a home together. Knowing what you're getting into can help you plan accordingly.
Learning about each other's past involves talking about a few specific topics. You should be open about things like:
- Credit scores
- Salary and income
- Debt amounts
- Budgets and basic expenses
But beyond the tangible, it also helps to dig into each other's financial mindset, which is often based on our past. Bankrate suggests asking the following:
- How did your parents handle money? How are your siblings dealing with money and saving?
- Do friends and family ask you for loans? If so, how do you respond? Do you ask family and friends for money?
- How did you begin your independent financial life? When did you start paying your own bills? Did you ever run into trouble with debt?
- How do you define "needs" versus "wants"?
It's hard to have this conversation if you've never had it before, but if the relationship is getting serious, you'll want to know about your partner's financial past and present, because it will almost certainly come up in the future.
Bankrate has other great advice on talking about money with a spouse, so check out their full post at the link below.