More than two-thirds of people in relationships say money is a stressful topic. This can result in important conversations being avoided. After all, is there a seemingly less compatible combination than finances and love or intimacy or romance?
However, more and more couples are opting to move in together rather than marry these days. In other words, it has become more crucial than ever to talk economics with your partner.
Such a discussion can range from the practical (credit score) to the abstract (personal relationships with money). The specifics can, of course, vary. What should be non-negotiable is that these conversations happen and are taken seriously.
How to Make Time For Money Talk Before You Move In Together
Normalize it. No one would flinch if you asked about pets or what color to paint the bathroom. With all due respect, those topics take a backseat to finances. So, bring it up. Normalize it and demystify it. Money conversations don’t have to be complicated. They also don’t have to automatically start a fight. The more often you discuss things like budgets and savings, the more comfortable you can get with such topics.
How to Talk About Money Before You Move In Together
Clear the Air
Set aside time to share the relevant details. Tell each other, honestly, about issues like:
- Your current salary, bank account, and debt
- Whether you’re saving each month, breaking even, or increasing debt?
- Your current credit score
- If you own stocks, property, or any other assets
- The status of an emergency fund
Sharing some of this information can make you feel squeamish. But the idea is to eliminate surprises later. You want a solid picture of each other’s financial history and style. Doing so can help you nip problems in the bud.
Who pays for what and why? How much can you each kick in on a monthly basis? The goal is to create a household budget you can manage comfortably. Every couple will choose their own method, but keep these questions in mind:
- Are both of your names on the lease?
- Will you combine all expenses together or divvy them up?
- How will you decide which are joint expenses and individual expenses?
- Which system will you use to keep track of income and expenses?
- Will you use joint or individual bank accounts, credit cards, utility accounts, etc.?
It can be very helpful to keep your money independent at first. This makes it easier for you to discern spending habits (see below). Also, you may be more attentive when you can clearly determine which money you’re managing.
Discuss Money Styles and Spending Habits
For a wide variety of reasons, everyone treats money differently. For some, it represents safety and security. Others are more nonchalant. Talk about your emotions in relation to finances. The more you know, the better you can interact productively.
A good starting point is to talk about shared economic goals. This exercise will reveal a lot of your individual perspectives.
This can feel like a downer. But, in case you ever split up, there are issues to talk about in advance, e.g.
- Who moves out?
- If one moves and the other stays what about the security deposit?
- How about possessions like furniture, etc.?
This Process Requires Key Skills & Support
Differences in money styles can be reconciled. But it takes communication skills. The best place to cultivate such tools is in couples counseling. In fact, you can literally practice these conversations in the presence of a skilled and unbiased guide. These are some of the most important discussions you will ever have. Why not reach out to make sure they go well? I’m here to help. Please contact me soon for a confidential consultation.