Happy hump day, friends! One of the last “relationship” themed posts on CUR was about important conversations to have with your significant other before things get, well, serious. Serious in the relationship, and also serious in the problem categories. So many of you reached out really resonating with that post, so I’m excited to team up with the team at Lexington Law (they’re leaders in credit repair!) to dive a bit deeper into more couple-centric questions – specifically, how to talk about the dollah dollah bills with your partner.
Statistically speaking, money is responsible for approximately 35% of problems in relationships and divorce. Which is SO SAD, I think. There’s so much more to life than money, but unfortunately…it’s a necessary evil oftentimes. Whether it’s not having enough or having too much, spending frivolously or investing foolishly, not saving enough or something else altogether, money can be the root of relationship woes sometimes.
These are some specific talking points (+ some Q’s to try asking your partner!) that I think bear weight and are worth the tough conversation (+ J agrees – I ran everything by him before hitting publish!). Sometimes, the easiest way to talk about the hard stuff (I think) is to frame it like a game of 20 Questions. It makes it easier than just bringing up a tough topic out of the blue, and it gives each of you the chance to give a thoughtful response under the guise of “a game” – while tackling some toughies together. So feel free to pull up the questions below if/when you decide to take ‘em on over dinner and a glass of Cab Sav. 😉 (And pull up Lexington Law services to check out while you’re at it!)
At our little couple’s getaway from the other weekend – lovelovelove.
What’s your money style?
YEARS ago, J + I found this quiz online to tell us our money style in relationships. We took this before we were even engaged, so obviously we’re the nerdy type. 😉 Turns out, we’re both “all-in allies,” meaning, when married, we’re both OK with sharing finances, financial responsibility, the whole nine yards. We believe in having a joint account and living the “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours” approach. That’s not to say that another method is better or worse – it’s just where we’re on the same page. We found this sortof exercise to be REALLY helpful in our relationship; it would be equally helpful to know if you’re not on the same page to start. For example, if one of you is an “all-in ally” but the other thinks everything should be split, nothing is shared, and nothing is communicated…that could leave to friction down the road, especially come time to pay bills. Ask your partner…
- What’s your style? For this, really, just do an online quiz together (or a few) and see how your answers match up.
Depending on your money style, do you have spending limits?
This is definitely more relevant/important if you’re sharing finances at all, but I think it’s still a worthwhile conversation to have together! Some folks HATE the idea of not getting something they want when they want it, and splurging in the moment (that “YOLO” mentality), whereas others might thrive off of feeling like they saved up little by little to spend on something big (like my “hit the goal, get the Gucci” game 😉 ).
- Is there a specific dollar sign value that you would prefer I run by you before spending?
- Does that dollar sign value apply only when we’re using any shared funds?
- Should we set “limits” for ourselves at all? I say “for ourselves” here so that it never feels like one of you is dominating over the other, or “controlling” resources, but rather, making a team effort to be your best financial selves together!
What’s your approach to credit?
This cannot be understated, folks. Credit is important. Really, good credit is important, and good credit practices + habits. What’s your partner’s approach to a credit card?
- Ask your partner their take on WHEN + WHY it’s appropriate and acceptable to use a credit card (versus a debit card or cash). Is there a rule on the monetary amount? Is it based on the type of purchase?
- Practice vulnerability with each other – have either of you needed credit repair? Would you be open to using a credit repair service in the future if need be? It’s not a bad thing to care about being in the best financial shape possible, girlfriend! I recommend my friends at Lexington Law – they’re leaders in the credit repair industry and are there to help, whether you’ve got great credit and just want ongoing support, or not-so-great credit that you’re looking to positively change. Lexington Law also offers a free credit repair consultation, which includes a complete review of your free credit report summary + score, so that’s a worthwhile resource to take advantage of right off the bat!
- Suggest a monthly sit-down together to reconcile finances together. Turn it into a fun little nerdy date night! Whip up a quick comfort meal together, pour a glass of Cabernet, and do a recap of your monthly spending/saving together. This gives you a chance to revisit your budget to make sure things are on track, as well as pay off credit card statements and make sure you’re not putting more on credit cards than you can realistically pay off in a reasonable amount of time.
What are your thoughts on budgeting?
This can really vary per couple (+ per person!), so as icky as it might feel if you’re not a numbers kinda gal, it can be pretty impactful for your financial future together. J is BIG on budgeting, probably because he’s got a financial brain and does it in his day job often. This was NUTS to me when we got married, because while I was never frivolous with my money by any means…we had suuuuuper different budgeting styles.
As in, my idea of “budgeting” was using envelopes marked “CAR FUND” or “DISNEY TRIP” to plan for expenses, and his idea involved Microsoft Excel. Gross. 😉 We’ve found a happy medium now that works for us, but this can (+ will) vary couple-to-couple; we were talking to my parents last weekend and they said they’ve NEVER actually followed a set “budget,” and instead just really openly communicate and share accounts to make sure they’re paying everything they’re supposed to and when. So what works for us might not work for you and might not work for them – and that’s OK. First ask…
- How do you budget your personal finances? First thing’s first: DO you budget? And if so, how?
- The Short-term: Short-term budgeting is like a great trial-run for the big stuff down the line. It includes things like your weekly grocery bill or date night fund – important items, but not take-your-house-away-if-you-mess-them-up important. (This post has a checklist of short-term budget items to remember, so go through it with your partner to see where you stand!)
- The Long-term: Long-term budgeting is much more relevant if you’re in a more serious, committed relationship (obviously), where things like planning for retirement funds or mortgage payments might be applicable. (This post dives into the deep end of long-term budgeting, so I recommend checking it out if you’re going through this process soon and/or want some help!)
How often, if at all, should we check-in with each other financially, and when?
It’s suuuuper important to be on the same page here, friends. Misunderstood, unmet, or uncommunicated expectations can KILL relationships, which is really just so sad! Take a hot sec to get on the same side of the net (my mom always used to tell me that in relationships – especially in disagreements – it’s always important to remember that you’re on the same team! Put the ISSUE on the other side of the net and approach it together – don’t let yourselves be divided as a couple).
- How often do you want or need to chat finances together?
- When we do, how much information do we want to talk about?
- What sortof check-in would feel good to ensure we’re on track for our goals together, without being too much?
- If talking about money, especially your own money situation, feels hard or has felt hard in the past…why is that? Did something happen, or did someone say something that maybe contributed to that feeling?
Here it’s important to acknowledge that you don’t want to be (nor should you be) keeping secrets from the other. So try to mutually respect the other’s preferences and accommodate however possible, so that both of you feel secure in your financial relationship together! Of course, trust comes into play here – it should never feel like your partner is trying to *control* your financial situation in an abusive sense.
What are your own favorite and go-to financial resources?
This is a great way to come together at the end of the conversation and find mutual things to bond over.
- What are your favorite financial blogs or podcasts? I know J really likes Dave Ramsey, so his style might be more in line with that. The Lexington Law website has good financial resources to check out, if you’re in need of some recommended reading! 😉
What money questions are important to you? And have you ever heard of Lexington Law?
Any questions I missed in the list above? Add your own two cents in a comment below – would lovelovelove to hear your thoughts!
*Thank you to Lexington Law, a brand I lovelovelove, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!