You know this one: Struggles, arguments and disagreements about finances are among the most common reasons couples break up. If you are a saver and your love is a not-so- better half when it comes to spending money, that can be a recipe for relationship disaster.
How do you know what you're getting into before you say "I do"? Money expert and financial adviser Margie Baldock, author of The Mother Lode Manifesto, says when it comes to your financial health selecting the right partner is the MOST important decision you can make. "The wrong partner, financially speaking, can mean a life of stress, struggle and strain. It is no wonder, then, that 80% of divorce is believed to be based upon money disputes."
Baldock recommends you NOT walk down that aisle until you've asked, discussed and are satisfied with how your partner answers these very important five money questions:
1. What are your current money beliefs? For example, do you believe money is easy or hard to make, retain, grow?
2. What are your current money habits? For instance, do you invest 10-20% of your income and then spend what's left as millionaires habitually do OR do you spend all you earn and never have any left to invest as most people do?
3. Do you value financial freedom and have you made the decision to become financially free yet? Financial freedom means having all your expenses covered by income that is independent of whether you work or not.
4. Do you have a written plan for financial freedom? What is it and what is the time frame in which you expect to achieve financial freedom? Ideally, both partners should agree upon a common vision for their combined financial vision. It can be useful to discuss whether kids are in your game plan and if so what your attitudes towards money you will employ when it comes to raising children. Will both partners work? Which system of education do you believe in? Will you set aside funds into a future college fund?
5. When you attain your financial freedom what is your vision for how you will spend your time? Another way of asking this question is: What is your idea of an inspired destiny (where your work is an act of love instead of a strategy to fix a lack of wealth)? This is a big one since solving money problems creates new problems such as having too many choices (and also having many more ways to lose money). So, having a shared vision for how to live life well once money is no longer an issue is vital to long term relationship success.
Baldock says it's pretty unlikely couples will go the distance as money disputes will almost be inevitable without these 5 pivotal bases covered.
These questions are the cornerstone to an effective long-term partnership that can grow in strength once the lust-phase has passed.
In fact, Baldock says financial health can actually make your love life sizzle!
“There is nothing sexier than living with someone who is working with you in partnership toward a common vision for a life well-lived. The act of working towards a common vision creates a bond that is the essence of a lasting, fulfilling relationship. And it doesn't even matter if the couple experiences failures along the way; the act of working on an agreed upon plan together is what matters. When plans go wrong under this scenario- both partners can take mutual responsibility for getting back on track, because they were co-creators in the plan.”
Do you have any financial discussions you’d recommend having with your partner before getting hitched? Let us know in the comments below.