We’re taught as children to never ask how much people earn, what things cost or how much money people have. It’s rude; it’s poor manners; and it is just not done.
We spend the first two decades of our lives keeping anything related to money hush-hush. We learn to skirt the truth in the interest of personal decorum.
We grow up, enter a relationship and find that it’s not easy to suddenly talk about such personal information.
It’s not flattering. We wear clothes that flatter our good points and downplay our flaws. We snap a selfie, and then retake as many times as necessary to get it just right.
We take great pains to present ourselves in the very best light. And when forced to talk about financial issues, well, we do the same thing. We bend the truth or we omit certain details that don’t make us look that great.
It’s terrifying. If you’re like most people, you’re not sure of your financial situation. At. All. You may be always just two steps ahead of a total financial meltdown. If you share that kind of information, your beloved may not think you’re such a great catch. You feel that you must be careful here, keeping your terror under wraps.
After all, once you get married and have twice the income to pay for half the expenses (being in love does funny things with math), things will be awesome in no time at all. Don’t cause any waves. Stay calm and carry on. Everything is sure to turn out right.
Money touches every area of life in some way. If you and your sweetheart get your money attitudes straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in your lives.
Ask these three questions to cut through all of this and get right to what you need to know:
No. 1: May I see your credit report, please? If he or she hands it right over, great! You need to reciprocate without question. Trading credit reports will get everything on the table, perhaps even things you did not know existed. Yes, it is scary, and yes, it may be the most difficult thing you will ever do together as you build your relationship. And the most beneficial.
No. 2: Who handled the money in your home when you were a child?
Why this is important: Let’s say you discover than your fiancee’s dad took care of all the bills in a “behind closed doors” fashion so her mother never had to worry her pretty little head about a thing. If her daddy provided in this way, it is quite possible she assumes the same will be true of her marriage and home. And vice versa.
Of course, there are all kinds of possible scenarios here, but it’s a great question for you to ask each other to get the conversation started.
No. 3: In every relationship or marriage there is a saver and a spender. Does our relationship fit that statement? Which are you? Which do you believe I am?
Don’t hide. Just because you might be the spender doesn’t mean you are a spendthrift or if you are the saver, that you hoard money. No, it just means you have an attitude or lean towards that way of thinking.
Truth be told, the best combination in a marriage is a spender and a saver. This creates balance when both are committed to full transparency and complete honesty.