When is the Right Time to Talk about Your Finances?
Making sure you talk money early enough in your relationship.
Although Valentine’s Day may be over, if you happened to make a deeper commitment to your significant other this past weekend, then the findings of this most recent survey from the COUNTRY Financial Security Index is still relevant . After all, if you want to avoid becoming part of the 50 percent of marriage that end failure because of financial reasons, you need to know when to have the money talk with your potential soul mate.
So when is the right time to talk finance with your partner in a relationship? You certainly don’t want to lay your financial life out on the table on your first date. On the other hand, waiting until after you walk down the aisle is a recipe for disaster for your money and your marriage.
According to the survey results:
- 77% of Americans believe a potential partner’s ability to minimize and manage debt is a key factor to consider when dating
- 48% of people believe a bad credit score is a bad sign in your significant other
- 64% of survey respondents believe combining finances is important as you get serious and enter into marriage
Even more interesting, it seems like the older you get, the earlier you think the money talk should come into play. For singles under 30, only about 12% believe you should discuss finance within the first few weeks of your relationship. However, about one in five singles discusses money in the first few weeks if you’re over the age of 50.
“The right time to talk about money is really right before you decide to make a serious commitment to that person,” advises Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit. “You should know your partner’s financial habits and history before you hitch your wagon to theirs.”
10 things you should know after you talk
Consolidated Credit has some helpful tips about the topics you need to cover when you talk about money before entering into a serious relationship. It’s good to note that if you plan on moving in together before you get married, then you need to have this talk even earlier.
In the meantime, here are the 10 things you and your partner should know about each other once you’ve had the money talk:
- Your credit scores
- Your overall debt amount
- Your income
- How many credit cards you each have
- Do you each have a 401(k) or IRA retirement account?
- What properties you and your partner own or if you both have a goal to become a homeowner
- How you both prefer to track and pay bills
- Whether you both want to maintain separate finances or share them
- Whether either of you has faced a serious financial life crisis, such as a bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax lien, wage garnishment, etc.
- Both of your long-term financial goals
Keep in mind that you probably won’t see exactly eye to eye or be on-par with each other on everything listed above. One of you may have a lower income and fewer assets, while the other may have more debt and a lower credit score. But the important thing is to get from two different financial perspectives to a happy medium that works for you both.
You should also be aware that in some cases, your differences of financial opinion may be hardwired. For instance, in that past Consolidated Credit has reported on the 7 Ways the Sexes Handle Credit Differently. On some things you may have to really compromise to get on the same page.
And remember, if you or your partner faces a problem with debt, it’s better to solve it now before it becomes an issue in your relationship. Call Consolidated Credit today at to speak with a certified credit counselor or ask for help online by completing request for a Free Debt & Budget Analysis.