They say to choose compatibility over chemistry when it comes to lasting relationships – which is why we sometimes obsess over it.
As a relationship develops, you start to think about the compatibility of deeper things, like your interests, goals, values, and dreams. But these aren’t the only things that make a relationship work.
Equally important, and often glossed over, is a couples financial compatibility. But what does this really mean, and do you have it with your partner?
Let’s Talk About: Financial Compatibility
First of all, financial compatibility does not mean that you have to make the same amount of money. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you both have the exact same practices surrounding money.
Financial compatibility is about understanding and respecting each other’s behaviors, values, and habits in regards to money. Arguing about finances early was found to be the top predictor of divorce in a study by Sonya Britt. If your relationship starts to get serious; these things will come up – so we’ve shared some tips below to make it easier.
Make A Checklist
Creating a list of your deal breakers can help you stay clear-headed in future conversations. These should be things that really matter to you.
Consider your values, such as being debt free, having enough money to travel, or how does being “comfortable” look to you. Make a separate list for yourself, and then create a shared list together. Knowing what you want (and respecting what your partner wants) will help to guide your conversations about money and keep you on track.
Like with most things in any relationship, be upfront and honest. If you have credit card debt or student loans, be transparent so that you can both prepare for future financial responsibilities. Or for those with a low credit score, discuss it before you make any big purchases together.
No matter what it is, air out your financial baggage together. This will not only help in planning your lives and understanding your partner’s choices, but also help to avoid big fights.
Get On The Same Page
You might already notice your partner’s spending and money habits by now. If there’s something that worries you, stop it from turning into bigger issues and address it immediately.
Think they’re spending too much on things they don’t need?
Wish they contributed more to the household?
Talk it out tactfully.
It might take some tries to find a solution that works for both of you, but letting them know how you feel early on can alleviate future tension.
Talk About The Future
If you’re having a hard time talking about money and find the subject awkward, try talking about goals to ease your way in.
For example, if you want to discuss about saving up, try to bring up a big trip you want to take. The conversation can easily transition into saving for the trip and you can steer it into talking about saving for other things.
It’s also important to talk about your long term dreams so that you’re both aware of potential sacrifices now.
If you hope to go back to college or start a family, make sure you and your partner are prepared to tackle the financial responsibility.
Find Out If You're Compatible
For starters, set aside some time to speak to your partner. Ensure it’s a safe space and that you both are mentally ready for the conversation. Here are some questions to help you get going:
- Are you comfortable with how much I make, and does this matter to you?
- How does retirement look like to you?
- Do you already have an emergency fund, and how do you feel about starting one together?
- Do you usually feel comfortable sharing with me how much you spend on an item?
- Do you trust me to make financial decisions for us?
Signs That You Are Financially Compatible
After you’ve determined your values and discussed them with your partner, take a step back and think about a few things.
- You rarely or never fight about money – and not because you don’t talk about it.
- Your spending and saving priorities are similar, and you trust their purchase decisions.
- Neither of you feel the need to hide purchases.
- You both have very similar (not identical) goals of how the future looks like.
- You both are willing to compromise to achieve the goals – whether shared or personal.