Cover the Basics
Start your conversation by laying out the details of your individual financial situation for your partner and vice versa. This requires significant disclosure but ensures you are both well aware of the big picture. Make sure you’ve answered the following questions:
1. How much money do you make?Talk about your salaries, bonuses, stock options, and any other compensation. If you are a full-time freelancer or independent contractor with an unpredictable or lumpy income, make sure your partner understands that.
2. What do you own and owe?
Make a list of your assets and debts. Then talk through how you view debt in general. If one of you has significant student loans or a credit card balance, does the other feel some obligation to help pay that off? It’s okay to decide that you’d like to each tackle your own debt situations separately, but in that case you may want to hold off on fully merging your bank accounts.
3. What are your financial priorities?
Are you seeking financial security, or are you more concerned with finding meaningful work than a cushy salary? Is spending money on fun, exciting experiences what’s most important to you? Or are you committed to saving up to own a home?
4. What are your personal and joint goals?
See where you stand on career paths, family, and what you prioritize when it comes to saving.
5. What are your financial hang-ups?
Are you a big spender? Are you terrified of debt? Are there any really bad financial experiences in your past that continue to haunt you?
6. What is your “financial style”?
If you’re a saver and your partner is more of a spender, is it going to drive you nuts to see the way the other person chooses to spend money on a daily basis, even if all their other obligations are met?