Q. My partner and I are getting married soon and we’ve never discussed money. What are some ways I can approach the conversation and what are some key questions I should ask?
A. Great question! Money is closely linked to values & priorities and therefore discussing these with your partner makes great sense.
Moneysmart recommends talking about four key themes: relationship goals, current financial situation, attitudes to spending & saving and the financial controller.
In the article “Love and finances: Questions you should ask your partner about money” by Emily Stewart for The Pineapple Project, she recommends the following questions, which I think are on the money (pun intended):
- If you won the lotto, what would be the first three things you would do?
Do you have similar priorities? What value do you put on money that’s given, not earned?
- Which word best describes your money habits?
Are you a spender, saver or sharer? Do you have similar money values and goals?
- Do you prefer to use cash or credit cards? Why?
This helps determine if you have similar money behaviours.
- How did your parents behave around money?
Were they savers or spenders? Our money habits are largely influenced by our childhood experiences.
- Do we have equal say on how we use our money, no matter who earns more?
Just check you’re on the same page around who controls the money and household expenses.
- How do you prioritise spending?
What’s more important — travel, education expenses, furniture, buying a house etc? Do you share similar values around spending?
- Should we have shared bank accounts?
What expenses are shared, or individual? Are you happy with the suggested arrangements? Talk about your options.
- What are our retirement goals?
How much do you need to live on? Think about how long you’ll need to work for and whether it’s full-time.
- If you were wealthier, do you think you would be happier?
Why or why not? Do you have similar values around money?
- If a friend or family member asks to borrow money, I would … Discuss.
You want to know what to say if your brother-in-law comes knocking asking for money.
- How much is too much to spend without checking with your partner?
It can be useful to set a limit on the amount you can both spend without talking to each other.
- What does being financially ‘comfortable’ look like to you?
Does it mean having enough to cover bills or having no mortgage?
- How much I earn as an individual is an indication of my self-worth. Discuss.
What are the values you share around work, money and family?
- If one of us isn’t earning, will the other pay super for the non-earner?
Perhaps one of you will raise the children, become unemployed or is unwell. What happens if one of us has a break from work?
- Kids should have pocket money without doing any chores. Discuss.
How do you plan to teach your kids about money?
I would go through each of these plus also agree to make money decisions together.
Good luck with the chat.
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