Written by: TG Rudra Priya
Marriage is hard work on any given day. And when you factor in financial matters into that equation, how you handle money can make or break your relationship.
And to that end, it’s important that you learn about your potential life partner’s money habits before getting hitched because this is the most pragmatic conversation you can hope to have with your partner, even though you may feel uncomfortable talking about this, know that it will give you a better understanding of your partner’s sense of responsibility.
So here are some questions you should ask your significant other to check your money compatibility with him/her before you say “I do”.
#1: What do you like to spend a lot of money on?
Actually, no one likes to spend too much of their hard earned money, but there is always that one thing on which they’d like to splurge it all on, because the prize is worth it.
For some it is clothes, jewelry, shoes and handbags; for some it’s the latest iPhone, or smartphone, or any other gadget; for some it’s going out for dinner, clubs, or movies.
Some like to live a lavish lifestyle, others spend on traveling luxuriously or travel to a lot of places on a budget and call it investing in life experiences. Some don’t spend any of it, even if they get a big pay check every month.
Better to find these things out sooner than later.
#2: Have you ever created a monthly budget and tried to stick to it?
This is a pretty straightforward question and money is a sensitive subject as it is, and well, this could easily upset or offend your future partner.
So you may want to start by sharing your budget planning method before asking theirs.
Do you like to sit down for some time and take out a diary where you track your monthly expenses after you pay rent and other basic amenities? Or do you give yourself a spending limit and until you hit it you don’t really keep track of your bills?
How much of these expenses are you willing to cut down to accommodate another person in your life? Especially when you’re thinking of starting a family, and assuming both of you are contributing to the household, how would you plan your budget around the expenses you incur when having a baby?
You or your partner is more likely to follow this money habit throughout your life. And if you are one to strictly follow a budget that allows you to spend some and save some; that gives you a little time to breathe before the next cycle of bills starts to pour in; and say your potential life partner may have been used to a lifestyle that hasn’t given them any reason to worry about budgeting or balance sheets until now, then this difference could create a huge rift between the two of you.
So if you’re thinking about a long-term relationship with someone, this is a must-ask!
#3: Do you have anyone depending on you financially?
You should know the financial obligations your potential life partner has, and how much of it he/she expects you to share with them in the future.
You may have your own obligations to meet before you are capable of taking on more.
Even if there isn’t anyone depending on you, you may not feel comfortable sharing this responsibility with your partner.
And that’s okay! It’s your money, and you get to decide what to do with it. Just be upfront about it from the beginning.
#4: How do we share our expenses in the future?
You should ask him/her how you want to move forward financially.
Aside from your dependents, you still have your own household expenses and monthly savings that you need to take care of and you should ask how much of it he/she expects you to share after tying the knot.
How much of it are you capable of taking on? How much are you willing to contribute to the household? And would you like to start a joint account to manage said shared expenditures?
#5: Do you have any student loans that you need to pay off?
You need to know if your potential life partner has any debts (besides education loans) that they need to pay off. Because when you hitch your wagon to theirs, their debt becomes your debt. And vice versa.
If you happen to depend on credit cards, or your partner does, this is a good time to bring it up.
#6: How much do you save on a monthly basis?
Some people like to save for the rainy day. Some like to save up for a luxury car or for a posh apartment in the city. Some live like there’s no tomorrow.
You should ask your partner-to-be about his/her saving habits.
What are they saving for?
How much savings would you like to have ideally?
Do you think about long-term plans and go for fixed deposits alongside regular savings account?
Do you plan ahead for 20 years down the line and have savings bonds? Have you considered any other investment options? Like Property? Gold? Or Stock market?
If it’s for emergency, have you considered channeling some of it into insurance?
It’s good to have an open and honest conservation about money before you take your relationship to the next level. Because it’s one of those things you will be fighting about all the time. And who knows? Asking these questions may help you find some clarity. You may even find some similarities in your financial goals and habits. You will still fight about money but you will also be able to resolve it much sooner.