Whether you’re casually dating, moving in together, or married, you and your partner have to be sure you’re not just compatible in terms of personality but also financially. Is your partner a saver or a spender? How seriously do they take debt? Do they have a monthly budget? Here’s how to tell if you’re financially compatible with your partner.
START WITH AN OPEN TALK ABOUT MONEY
It may not be fun, but one of the best steps you can take in a serious relationship is to have a real talk about money to see just how financially compatible you are. Most people don’t disclose financial information until three to six months into a relationship, yet one in five relationships ends due to financial pressure. If the two of you are thinking about moving in together or eventually getting married, you’re going to want to get on the same page.
Find out what their plans for the future are, if they’re thinking about retirement, what they make per year, and if they have any debts they’re working on paying. Ask about whether they know their credit score and what it is. This information will give you an overview of their current finances, so you can see if their situation is compatible with your own financial future.
OBSERVE WHETHER THEY’RE A SAVER OR SPENDER
Does your partner frequently tell you about the new gadget they just purchased? Are they always suggesting pricey bars or restaurants? Or do they constantly suggest that you two spend your weekends at home instead of going out to save money? Watch out for these cues, as they’ll let you know how much of a spender your partner is.
Savers and spenders frequently make decisions that put them at odds with each other, but even if you’re financial opposites, that doesn’t mean that you’re automatically incompatible as a couple. If anything, a saver can teach a spender to be more financially responsible, or that being a saver doesn’t necessarily mean never having fun, while a spender can help a saver make the occasional splurge.
TAKE NOTE OF HOW OFTEN YOU ARGUE ABOUT MONEY
The occasional argument about your finances is inevitable, but do you feel that your arguments are happening almost every day? Do you constantly have to warn them that they’re spending over their budget? Or are you the one always getting lectured over what you should be doing with your own money?
Having different opinions on money is unavoidable—according to a survey conducted by Discover and the Match Group, 53 percent of respondents said finances were a strain on a past or current relationship—but if you and your partner can’t seem to agree on anything financially, you might have a compatibility issue. Even financial opposites can work to find common ground, but arguing over issues as they come up isn’t the answer. Instead, set up a night where the two of you talk about your differences before they escalate.
ARE THEY INVESTING IN YOU?
The longer you’ve been in a relationship, the more intertwined you will become in your partner’s financial situation. The big question is: Just how invested are they in you? Saving money is an obvious must for anyone looking to build a future, but is your partner doing their share to ensure you’ll be able to live the life you two want?
If you’re looking at starting a family, owning a home, and retiring, but your partner isn’t planning for the future, there’s potentially an issue. That type of behavior might not be compatible with what you need, and moving forward you’re going to have to discuss that with them.
ESTABLISH A BUDGET
One of the easiest ways to see if you’re financially compatible with your partner is to plan a budget. Once your relationship evolves to the point where you are sharing expenses, it becomes increasingly important to be working toward similar goals. So, talking about a budget out loud will give you the opportunity to see where their financial values lie and observe just how seriously they take their finances.
SHARE YOUR CREDIT SCORES
It may just look like a three-digit number, but your credit score is packed with information. It can give you a quick snapshot of your financial picture, and it can impact whether or not you qualify for credit and the interest rates you will pay moving forward. To get on the same page with your partner, check your respective scores and share them with each other. It might not be the easiest discussion to have—in the Match Group and Discover study, 69 percent of respondents said they felt slightly or not at all comfortable with sharing their credit scores. But being honest and open could make you more attractive. In the same survey, 58 percent of respondents said a good credit score was more attractive than driving a nice car.