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Valued Member
Kesh
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎01-12-2010
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Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

My bf and I have been together for going on 2 years (a wonderful 2 years might I add). We have shared our dreams, ambitions, goals, and expectations of the relationship; however we barely touched the surface of finances. If we have talked about finances it's "you make more than X, right?" or "my student loans are current and in repayment". No real conversation about how money is managed (i.e., pay your bills before you go shopping, carry no balance on your cc, etc.).

 

I want to ensure that our relationship, if taken to the "next level", can handle finances. So what do you think? Is me wanting to discuss financial habits premature? If not, would you provide advice on how to approach the conversation?

 

Thanks in advance.


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FrugalRican
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

My girlfriend and I did it at the 1.5 year mark.

We figured, that if we were serious enough to talk about long-term, finances needed to be included.

2 years is good enough if you both have started the "M-word" talk, home talk, and all that good stuff.

 

Just don't be too pushy about it.

 

My girlfriend "initiated" the talks but structured it in a way to make it seem like it was my idea (I knew what she was doing, but I played along).

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Valued Member
Kesh
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎01-12-2010
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

Thanks FrugalRican.

 

We've had those conversations. At one point I was looking to buy a house, which I had to re-evaluate, so I was a little more open (still vague) about my finances.

 

I just don't want him to think I'm being nosey. I've had some troubles with finances (as indicated by my scores below), but I have definitely learned A LOT from this board. I'm now at a point in my life where I know for certain I don't want to EVER make the same missteps whether because of my doing or anyone else's.

 

You always see stats saying "the #1 cause of divorce is finances". When we get to the "marriage" point I want it to be blissful and no tumultuous due to finances.

 

OK so it appears I need to craft a plan.


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FrugalRican
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?


Kesh wrote:

Thanks FrugalRican.

 

We've had those conversations. At one point I was looking to buy a house, which I had to re-evaluate, so I was a little more open (still vague) about my finances.

 

I just don't want him to think I'm being nosey. I've had some troubles with finances (as indicated by my scores below), but I have definitely learned A LOT from this board. I'm now at a point in my life where I know for certain I don't want to EVER make the same missteps whether because of my doing or anyone else's.

 

You always see stats saying "the #1 cause of divorce is finances". When we get to the "marriage" point I want it to be blissful and no tumultuous due to finances.

 

OK so it appears I need to craft a plan.



Don't over-think it though, if you two are that comfortable with each other, just be a bit open about it.

My girlfriend didn't come right out and ask me how much money I had or what my credit was... she was sort of vague about it, asked me how I was doing financially. She definitely laid the groundwork months before by asking how much I made, how much rent I paid, so she kind of figured out the paycheck from there.

 

But it became a matter of asking what retirement goals were, bank accounts, and credit reports.

I work for a financial institution and have parents that divorced mainly due to financials, so I was a lot more receptive to having these talks with her.

 

But at some point, it needs to happen, and it's not about offending, but it's about embracing a future together.

If he seems a bit adverse about opening up regarding his financials, just phrase it in a way that seems to benefit the two of you. You DEFINITELY need to have the talk before marriage. You don't want to be the one that married a guy with 50K credit card debt who overspends constantly... and "you didn't even have a clue".

 

Just don't come out and ask him for his account totals and credit score lol

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drkaje
Posts: 3,492
Registered: ‎07-25-2008
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

Honesty is the best plan.

 

You really don't want to have financial stuff all messy before getting married. :smileyhappy:


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FrugalRican
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

I agree, I'd rather have the "awkward" talk before marriage, then get shell-shocked after the ink on the certificate has long dried.

I've found that people who get defensive about this talk, more often than not, are hiding something that could be a potential red flag.

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Senior Contributor
drkaje
Posts: 3,492
Registered: ‎07-25-2008
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

FR,

 

I agree with every word of your post except potential. :smileyhappy:

 

I'm not saying people can't/don't make financial missteps and work their way back. Simply that if you're situation is a mess, be honest about it upfront and have a real, concrete, plan to clean stuff up that doesn't involve my participation.


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marty56
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

A little over 10 years ago I was left at the alter, the stated reason was 70k of CC debt.  Most people I knew back then who were involved in the situation wrote me off as well.

I honestly don't know if that was the real reason or not since she wound up with the guy I was competing with but I had so much stress on me while I was hiding the 70k of CC debt.  Fast forward to today and things are great and in many ways she did me a favor. 

 

The one thing I regret from back then more then the 70k of CC debt was I didn't lay it all out.   Not for her, for me.

 

Do yourself a favor and  both of you lay it all out as soon as you can.

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Senior Contributor
drkaje
Posts: 3,492
Registered: ‎07-25-2008
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?

The "talk" should be with yourself before seriously dating anyone. :smileyhappy:


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crunching_numbers
Posts: 1,093
Registered: ‎02-15-2012
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Re: Advice Needed: When to Have the "Finance" Talk?


marty56 wrote:

A little over 10 years ago I was left at the alter, the stated reason was 70k of CC debt.  Most people I knew back then who were involved in the situation wrote me off as well.

I honestly don't know if that was the real reason or not since she wound up with the guy I was competing with but I had so much stress on me while I was hiding the 70k of CC debt.  Fast forward to today and things are great and in many ways she did me a favor. 

 

The one thing I regret from back then more then the 70k of CC debt was I didn't lay it all out.   Not for her, for me.

 

Do yourself a favor and  both of you lay it all out as soon as you can.


I think there is the honesty and trust factor here too. If you could be dishonest about $70K of debt, how could she trust the rest?

 

My DH and I had always been open about finances.  We have had a joint checking account since before we are married. "We" have "our" bills, and we came into the marriage without much debt, except for wedding costs. We were both living paycheck to paycheck anyways.


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