Money woes are one of the biggest factors in the breakup of relationships and marriages. To help you and your SO get on the same page in the new year, Lemondrop talked to Manisha Thakor
, co-author of the recently released book, "Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money With Your Honey
1. If you think your relationship has long-term potential, you need to have The Talk.
"Society does not encourage us to discuss money openly and honestly with each other," admits Thakor.
"So in the early stages of dating you have to rely on 'seemingly small' signs -- how your sweetie talks about money, deals with paying the bill when you are out together/with others, what kind of lifestyle your honey maintains," Thakor says.
After sussing out your potential partner's pecuniary profile and thinking that the relationship is going to go the distance, Thakor suggests "being bold and finding out more definitively by taking a financial compatibility quiz." (Conveniently, Thakor has a two-page compatibility quiz
posted on her book's site.)
2. Figure out your financial "must-haves." If you're a big spender, and he's more frugal (or vice versa), then Thakor says it's more difficult, but not impossible to build a life together. "The solution is not to try and turn your mate into a carbon copy of you," she says, "but rather to find out for each of you what are the financial 'must-haves.' Together you can set up a plan that lets each of your unique money urges to be satisfied.
"For instance, to help the frugal mate you could set a dollar amount for purchases above which you both agree to consult each other. To help the big-spending mate you could set a dollar that each person is allowed to spend a month, no questions asked." Alternatively, Thakor suggests a "financial three-way" where you each keep a separate bank account and have a joint account for shared expenses.
3. Don't preach or pass judgment. Some people are very set in their ways when it comes to managing their money, so it can be hard to watch a partner making what you perceive to be mistakes or missteps. "In order to ultimately come up with a plan that meets both your needs, you want to start off by really listening, with an open mind, to what your partner's financial dreams, hopes, fears and current reality are," says Thakor. "The key is to present the rationale behind the conversation as a way to bring you two closer and to make sure you both have a fighting chance of having your finances support your dreams."
Tell us! Have you had The Talk with your significant other? How did it go over?