8 Questions About Relationships and Money… I Want Your Thoughts!

relationships and money questionsThese questions were popular on personal finance blogs back in 2013. 

I answered them in 2013 and am updating my answer for how I feel now in 2016.

1. Would you discuss money on the first date?

2013 Me: Probably not, I’d be more interested in the person.

If it came up I wouldn’t have any objection to talking about it, but I wouldn’t talk about things like my salary.

Luckily I won’t be dating anymore because we’re engaged! (We’re married now.)

2016 Me: I still wouldn’t bring up the discussion of money on the first date, but I’d be open to talking about it if the other person asked.

I wouldn’t have anything to hide. I feel financial compatibility is a huge part of the reason why my wife and I don’t fight often.

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

2013 Me: I think you should wait until you’re ready. I think this is different for each couple. Now… if they are already your spouse it is way too late, in my opinion.

The topic should come up before or as things get fairly serious. There is no point wasting someone’s time if you both are financially incompatible because that can be a deal breaker for some people.

2016 Me: After I found out I wanted to be serious in a relationship, I’d start exploring money topics. I think attitudes about money would be the starting point, then going into spending, saving, investing and debt.

3. Who always brings up money in your relationship?

2013 Me: I bring it up most of the time but my fiancee brings it up a fair amount, too. I’d say it is probably a 60/40 or 67/33 me/her ratio.

2016 Me: I’d say I bring up finances most often now. I handle the finances for the most part, but we make sure to talk about our finances on a regular basis and definitely before any large purchases.

I do think it would be helpful to get my wife more involved on a more regular basis, though.

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

2013 Me: It is harder since we aren’t married yet and we currently keep everything separate. Once we get married though we’ll be combining accounts and things will hopefully be easier again.

2016 Me: It isn’t any more difficult than when I tracked my finances when I was single. Luckily, I’ve set up systems to make managing our money easier now that we’re married. 

We definitely have a ton more accounts to track now, especially since we’ve started travel hacking credit card bonuses to earn awesome rewards, but the systems means the whole process is the same, if not easier, than it was when I was single.

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

2013 Me: I am! I will be helping her pay down her student loans after we get married. This should definitely help her student loans disappear much faster.

2016 Me: Well, now that we’re married, we run our finances as a household with combined accounts, so everything is our debt, not mine or hers.

I did help her pay down her student loan debt and thankfully it is now gone. All we have left is the mortgages, which we plan to pay down slowly.

6. Is debt a deal breaker?

2013 Me: It would be if it was massive credit card debt, but my fiancee started with 80k in student loans and has it down below 60k after 1.5 years. I’d say she is making good progress. Obviously it is not a deal breaker for me since we’re getting married.

2016 Me: I do think debt can be a deal breaker for many relationships, especially if it is an ongoing problem that is currently getting worse.

If the problem was in the past, has been corrected and is now in the process of being paid off, I think you’d have to give that person a chance. However, the amount of debt could make a big difference.

My wife’s $80,000 of student loan debt wasn’t a deal breaker for me and now it’s gone, so it can be conquered!

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

2013 Me: I do. You can have varying degrees of the views, but in general, if your money styles are similar you’ll fight a lot less about money.

2016 Me: The more I see people fight about money the more I believe it is important to have the same money views. What may seem like a small money view difference now can turn into a huge rift later on in life that leads to divorce.

Do you need to have a perfect match of money views? No, but if one person wants aim for financial independence early and the other person doesn’t mind carrying credit card debt, that’d be hard, if not impossible, to deal with.

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

2013 Me: They have to be willing to change but you can help them get there if they want it, I think. If they don’t want to change, I don’t think you can change anyone.

2016 Me: I still believe you can’t change anyone that doesn’t want to change. If your spouse honestly wants to change and is open to your help, then I do think you can help shape how your spouse deals with money in the future.

There you have it! My answers to the eight questions. Now it is your turn! Answer these 8 questions in the comments below or on your own blog! I’ve copied just the questions below in case you want to copy them into your comment!

P.S. Here is where credit is due for these questions. First, Chase (the bank) published a survey with the results to these 8 questions. Dinks Finance published the results and then J Money answered the questions for himself!

1. Would you discuss money on the first date?

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

3. Who always brings up money in your relationship?

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

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

6. Is debt a deal breaker?

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

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

Photo by: ianpatterson99 Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Having similar values including money is very important! It is necessary to have a unified effort to reach goals. I am not suggesting to follow blindly, but to agree on a plan for the future. Marriage is very much a partnership where you are taking 2 individuals together to act as one. All the questions must be resolved to reach this goal or outcome. Timing may be different for everyone.

  2. 1. Would you discuss money on the first date?
    No-but depends on the situation, if they brought it up I’d be happy to indulge.

    2. How long should you wait to talk about money with your spouse?
    If they were my spouse, I’d hope we’d be talking about it from way before we got engaged and got married.

    3. Who always brings up money in your relationship?
    Me-I’m the nerd, but bf doesn’t mind.

    4. Is it harder to manage your money as a couple than it was when you were single?
    We don’t technically combine finances yet because we’re not married.

    5. Would you offer to pay off your spouse’s debt?
    If bf had debt and we were married (I guess that would make him the spouse lol) we would pay off the debt together.

    6. Is debt a deal breaker?
    No, but desire to pay it off and not go back into debt is important.

    7. Do you think it’s important to have the same money views?
    Yes, yes yes-this one was easy. My parents divorced (in part) because of money.

    8. Can you really change how your spouse spends money?
    No, but he/she can 😉

  3. eemusings says:

    1. Would you discuss money on the first date? Not sure…

    2. How long should you wait to talk about money with your spouse? When it naturally comes up (which IMO would be quite early)

    3. Who always brings up money in your relationship? Me!

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

    5. Would you offer to pay off your spouse’s debt? Joint effort, but I wouldn’t wipe his debt clear and free for nothing.

    6. Is debt a deal breaker? Not necessarily.

    7. Do you think it’s important to have the same money views? I think a saver and spender can still get along, as long as your core priorities are aligned.

    8. Can you really change how your spouse spends money? It’s gotta come from the person, so YOU can’t change someone else, but again it can be a joint effort.

  4. I would hope people were not waiting until they were married to bring up money! For sure you wan’t to have the same “values” about money. If you don’t that’s a red flag. I also can’t imagine anyone bringing up money on a first date. awkward!

  5. We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary, so my comments might be a bit speculative on the dating thing, but here goes:

    1. First date: No, it’s a moot point if the relationship goes nowhere.

    2. How long? I think you find out soon enough by observing what she wears, drives, eats, etc. as well as the comments she makes (entitlement vs. have to earn it)

    3. The one running the budget brings it up first. It used to be my wife, but since we retired, she likes the structure of a job so she works and I run the budget. After living together so long, there usually isn’t much to talk about, because we can pretty much speak for the other.

    4. It may be harder because no two people are alike, but it’s much nicer! 🙂

    5. For us that was a moot point because we married young and didn’t have any debt. (In my case it was because I couldn’t qualify for any — talk about a blessing in disguise! LOL)

    6. Like you, debt per se isn’t a deal breaker. However, the propensity/desire to get into debt (“I HAVE to be driving a Navigator!”) would be. We know a couple who got married recently where that is an issue which may end up breaking the deal…

    7. Absolutely. However, I believe money is but a part of a total life outlook. If you’re going to live with somebody for the rest of your life, this is as important as they come.

    8. Yes. Early in our marriage I once cut up my wife’s credit card because she was reckless with it. We laugh abut it now, but at the time it was a big deal. Her father also taught me several things I needed to hear, and which changed my money views, so we’ve seen changes in both of us. That said, if either party is stubborn and not tactful, this can cause multiple big blowups… including The Big One.

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