Jane wants help talking to her partner about money

Dear Ritzy,
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?

Thanks, Jane

 

Hi Jane,

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):

1. 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?

2. Which word best describes your money habits?
Are you a spender, saver or sharer? Do you have similar money values and goals?

3. Do you prefer to use cash or credit cards? Why?
This helps determine if you have similar money behaviours.

4. How did your parents behave around money?
Were they savers or spenders? Our money habits are largely influenced by our childhood experiences.

5. 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.

6. How do you prioritise spending? 
What's more important — travel, education expenses, furniture, buying a house etc? Do you share similar values around spending?

7. Should we have shared bank accounts? 
What expenses are shared, or individual? Are you happy with the suggested arrangements? Talk about your options.

8. 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.

9. If you were wealthier, do you think you would be happier? 
Why or why not? Do you have similar values around money?

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. What does being financially 'comfortable' look like to you?
Does it mean having enough to cover bills or having no mortgage?

13. 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?

14. 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?

15. 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.  As F-Empowered believes that women should make money decisions, it makes sense to ensure you are both across and understand big money decisions (e.g. buying a house) and their impact on your lives and livelihood.

Good luck with the chat.

Cheers,
Ritzy