Sunday, November 3, 2013

Talking to Your Significant Other About Finances

Talking to your significant other about finances can sometimes be perilous
Finance before Fiancé
The most important decision you can make in your life is to whom you say "I do".  The main point of dating is to understand if your other half is the caring, funny, smart, lovable, add other adjective here, person you can spend the rest of your life with.  There is very good reason finance and fiancé are so lexically similar- the most important thing to know before you take the plunge is if your beloved is financially solvent.  Some things can change (like a bad sense of fashion or poor manners), but a credit score is forever.

The problem is that just like everyone thinks they are great driver, stylish and intelligent, so does everyone seem to think they are financially savvy.  But considering that the majority of Americans are not saving up enough for retirement and spending more than they make, then there is a good chance your man hands' might not be as good with a checkbook as they are at other things.  No one likes a budget, but everyone loves the benefits of compound interest and stock market rallies.  Nothing is sexier than a man with a balanced checkbook, Roth IRA, savings account and a sizable engagement ring fund.  Your man doesn't need to make six figures or some other arbitrary measure of success but he needs to have a financial plan and work towards defined financial goals and it is in your obligation as his plus 1 to understand and influence that plan.

Proper etiquette dictates that politics, religion and money all make for poor conversation topics. Asking your man how much money is in the bank is as good as telling him you’re a gold digger.  But opening up a two way dialog about financial goals is necessary before walking down the aisle.  Here are some great options you can plug and play to start the most important conversation you need to have with your fiancé.

Three guaranteed ways to start the conversation:

1. Ego
Ask for help on balancing your 401K or look at your car’s interest rate. Men LOVE helping the damsel in distress and feeling like they are the expert. Even though you may have your finances under control, it always good to get a second set of eyes on your balance sheet and stroke his ego. And once you've shown him yours, he will easily volunteer his balance sheet and show you his.

2. Alcohol
I've found that a little bit of alcohol can go a long ways. Make him a nice stiff drink and then just straight out ask him. Chances are he won’t remember the conversation anyways!

3. Guilt
Tell him how much you love him and can't wait to build your lives together. Say that you want to be honest with him about your financial situation so that you can start planning your future together. Let him know you are concerned, but not judgmental and just want to map out a plan together so you can understand the starting point in this wonderful journey together. A few heartfelt tears are always your friend. He will think you are being concerned, sentimental and sweet to worry so much, but you and I know the conniving truth of your ways.

If all else fails, then put on some new lingerie and tell him you need to have a serious talk before the relationship can reap its benefits. Men love the words "We need to talk".