Why Similar Financial Values are Important in Relationships
A recent article from the Financial Post stated that financial conflict is considered to be stronger, longer lasting, and can predict divorce better than other marital issues. Therefore, I think it is important to find someone who at least has the same values or attitudes towards money that you do. It’s one less thing to argue about, because we know arguing about the toilet seat up or down or arguing about clothes being strewn around are trivial matters compared to where people want to spend their money.
For example, if one person wants to scrimp and save and retire early, and the other person would rather enjoy life as it comes in a pseudo-you-only-live-once “YOLO!!!!” mentality, then you inevitably have a little bit of incompatibility there.
When you enter into a relationship or partnership with someone, what is really important is whether you have similar financial and life goals because ultimately, long term relationships are about achieving life goals together.
What was also shocking from that article was a recent survey conducted by match.com that revealed that although 94 percent of Canadians believe that it is important to talk about money with their partner, only less than 50 percent ever got to talking about money with their significant other within six to 12 months of dating.
How to Talk about Money with your Honey
If cat got your tongue (because talking about sex is easier than talking about money for most people), here is a great list of twenty questions to ask your significant other about money. Some of these are hypothetical situations and hypothetical questions, but it’s a great way to see the values and the way that your partner thinks about money.
Related: Who Should Pay on Dates?
I often ask hypothetical questions to dates on the second to fourth date like the one my mom likes asking me- “If you had a million dollars” because it helps gauge what the other persons values are. Sometimes you don’t need to ask this question and can tell what their values are just by how they spend their money.
For example, one guy I was dating said he would rather spend his money on a home, but he drove a very nice car, bought the latest gadgets, and bought super designer clothing. Although he articulated that he values one thing, his actions seemed to say something else.
Another way to talk about money with your potential honey is talking about how finances were handled when they were growing up. Although this isn’t always an indication about how they will handle money, how they grew up is quite important to see how they value and view money.
For example, my parents were very frugal and I would say that I am frugal (although my mom often calls me a spendthrift) because I had these values instilled upon me. I would not want to spoil my future/potential children and I would want them to grow up knowing the value of a dollar.
Whether we like it or not, money is symbolic of our values and can denote respect, thoughtfulness, and consideration. For example, it would drive me crazy to be dating someone who would say “it’s your turn to pay for the meal, isn’t it?” because I am not interested in a tit-for-tat relationship (I was in a relationship like this and it suffices to say this relationship did not last very long at all).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the type to expect to be wined and dined (far from it, really) but I just don’t like the feeling of someone “expecting” something from me when it should be something I feel like giving.
Readers, what do you think? How do you talk about finances in a new relationship or when you are dating?