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8 Questions About Money And Relationships

I first saw this topic over at The First Million Is The Hardest and I thought I’d cover it here as well. Talking about money with a significant other can really stir emotions, which is a good thing considering you’ll be spending the rest of your life with this person. Here are the 8 questions, since I’m married already and the questions seem to be geared more to unmarried people, I’m going to try and answer them as if we were still dating.

1. Would you discuss money on the first date?

No way. In fact, if I was out on a first date with someone that brought up money I would be extremely put off. This is like asking if you would have a conversation about money with the person waiting in front of you at the super market checkout line! There needs to be some sort of connection between both parties before bringing up this subject because there are so many factors involved.

 

2. How long should you wait to talk about money with your spouse?

Almost immediately. In fact, since the question is asking about a spouse, that would imply that I had been dating this person before and been engaged for a period of time before getting married. Common law would be different of course.

I would actually bring up money around when we got engaged, not wait until we’re already married! Different cultures will view this question very differently.

 

3. Who always brings up money in your relationship?

I would usually bring it up but only in very general terms. I would never ask about how much someone makes, their debt, savings or anything else that could get controversial.

 

4. Is it harder to manage your money as a couple than it was when you were single?

Maybe, but you know what they say, two heads are better than one. My partner is a pretty reasonable, rational person so I don’t think being together would greatly hinder the management of finances. She may think differently though!

 

5. Would you offer to pay off your spouse’s debt?

I wouldn’t just hand over a cheque but I would help enable them to pay it off. Paying off debt is a major lesson to learn and the satisfaction of seeing that $0 balance should be reserved for the person paying it off. Simply paying off someone’s debt doesn’t help them in the long run. They haven’t addressed whatever the issue was that got them into debt in the first place.

 

6. Is debt a deal breaker?

It could be. If I started dating someone and found they were buried under a pile of consumer debt, I would question their motives for being interested in me as well as their own judgement. There are many reasons why people go into debt, many legitimate or understandable but if something really seemed odd it might bother me enough to break off a relationship.

 

7. Do you think it’s important to have the same money views?

The views don’t have to be the same but they should be pretty close. If one person spends frivolously and the other is frugal, there will be ongoing conflict in the relationship. This conflict will creep it’s way into other aspects of the relationship and cause more issues.

 

8. Can you really change how your spouse spends money?

You can’t change someone but you can enable them to change. By sharing knowledge, giving encouragement and helping the person along, they can make the change for themselves. The real issue comes when you try to help someone change and they won’t. This can then lead to the problems I noted in my answer to #7.

 

For the readers:

What are your views on these questions? Are there any you would answer differently than I did?

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7 Responses to "8 Questions About Money And Relationships"

  1. Geoffrey says:

    On the paying off the other person’s debt question, I think you’re too rigid. If one person has the means and the other has a light debt, then why not? The point is for the new unit (the couple) to get to a $0 balance on the debt front.

  2. jay says:

    Just like drinkers ,you don’t find out until it’s too late …walk away from the drunk , but you can fix the debt problem -wish I had your advise not to payoff her debt (helping is a better plan) that is my next step ….

  3. When we meet someone we are attracted to, we make both conscious and unconscious decisions about their appearance, compatibility, occupation, status, religious beliefs, parenting ability, earning power, net worth, how s/he would be perceived by our family, whether they reflect and fit our view of the world and their value system.

    But if you cannot talk and communicate effectively and work through conflict, you’re relationship is doomed to fail from the start. I don’t care how good looking s/he is.

    What’s incredibly important is to learn how to collaboratively resolve disagreements. Too often people are more concerned with protecting themselves than the relationship.

    If allowed to continue, this attitude will severely weaken the bonds you have with your partner and put the relationship on very thin ice..

    • Andrew says:

      You’re very right, we make a lot of assumptions at the beginning of a relationship without knowing the details. Having those tough conversations early on can lead to much happier relationships down the road.

  4. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s answers as more and more bloggers answer the questions. I’m pretty much on the same page with you on all your answers!

  5. Liv says:

    I have a question then… It’s not that I want his money… it’s his… but when I do help out when he’s broke.. and I make a lot less than my fiance… and he says he will reimburse me… he usually does, but not always the full amount.. he tells me he is helping me out and to use it on bills… it makes me really mad… not that I helped or he paid me back… but the fact that he says “Here’s some money to help out…” when really he’s paying me back for money I used to pay for his baby sitter and his phone bill… I would rather he not give me any money back than say that… and if he were turly helping he would give me a bit more… than what he owed me… I don’t even ask for the money back, he says he will give it back to me… most if not all of my money goes to bills and groceries, which he eats more of than I do… so how do I keep this from getting us into huge fights like it always does… I am tired of fighting about it.

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