You may be familiar with your partner in many different ways. You might know how they like to drink their coffee and who their friends are and what they enjoy watching on television. You might have spoken about your plans for the future and figured out how you’ll work together as a couple in the long-term.
But have you considered if you and your sweetheart are financially compatible?
Money may not seem important at first, but one of the major causes of divorce is financial difficulty. If you’re not financially compatible with your partner, then it’s likely to cause issues at some point in your relationship.
So, how can you determine if you and your sweetheart are on the same page when it comes to finances? Below, you’ll find a range of questions you can both read and answer separately, then compare your answers and discuss them. You may discover that you both have similar beliefs and behaviours when it comes to money, but you might also find yourselves disagreeing on a few points.
Keep in mind that it’s ok if you and your sweetheart aren’t completely financially compatible. Some relationships work particularly well when each person has their own strengths to complement the other person’s! However, you may need to work a little harder to show empathy for each other’s choices and accept that you might want to use money in different ways. For example, you might prefer to save money while your partner prefers to spend.
After the questions, you’ll also find some tips about what to do if you and your sweetheart aren’t financially compatible.
Q: Am I in debt?
Q: Do I want to own a house? If so, when?
Q: Would I prefer to save up money for a big purchase, or borrow money?
Q: Do I have a budget?
Q: How do I feel about credit cards?
Q: When do I plan on starting a family?
Q: Am I a spender or a saver?
Q: Do I feel comfortable talking about money with my partner?
Q: Would I rather pay insurance or put extra money aside for emergencies (or neither)?
Q: What did my parents teach me about money?
Q: Would I be happy to support my partner if they became redundant or a stay-at-home parent?
Q: What are my biggest monthly expenses?
Q: If I received extra money, how would I use it?
Q: If I never had to worry about money, I would…
Q: Am I responsible with my money?
Q: When faced with money issues, am I more likely to ignore them or deal with them?
Q: How do I cope with financial stress?
Be sure to answer these questions as honestly as you can!
Did you and your partner find yourselves answering many (or all) of the questions above differently? If you did, that’s ok! There are a few things you can start doing now to decrease any potential financial problems as a result of your differences.
Now that you’ve answered the financial compatibility questions, you’ll have a greater awareness of the differences between you and your sweetheart. This is a great first step because it helps you understand why they might spend (or save) money differently from you and how you could see things from new perspectives. It might also help you work together to achieve common goals! For example, if you both want to save up for a holiday but your partner feels compelled to spend money more than you, it might be helpful for you to collect the savings.
Now that you’ve started the conversation about money, keep those lines of communication open. Continue talking about money so that it becomes the norm and really learn how the other person prefers to use money. Try not to be judgemental of your sweetheart; we all learn to earn, manage, spend and save money in different ways.
If there are some glaring differences between you and your sweetheart, it might be a good idea to keep your finances separate as much as possible. If you can both control your own money in the ways you prefer, then you’re less likely to experience resentment which can occur when imbalances arise in shared financial commitments.
Finally, it could be important to consider if your financial incompatibility is a deal breaker for your relationship. If you’re still quite early on in your relationship and your discussions about money are already causing big rifts between you, then it might be a good idea to seek couple’s counseling, or consider ending the relationship.
On the other hand, you may realise that finances may be important, but they aren’t a top priority in comparison to maintaining your relationship.