SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DEBT
STIs are bad enough, but as Melissa Browne says, money problems can be even more painful – and just as contagious.
We know the drill to avoid STIs: Use protection. But fluids aren’t the only thing shared in relationships. We can also be reckless about the F-word (finances) – exposing ourselves to that painful STD (sexually transmitted debt). You might think, “My partner knows what they’re doing with money, so I don’t have to worry.” However, STDs can affect everyone. Here’s how to avoid financial herpes and create a relationship where money isn’t a dirty word, but another thing you talk about. 1 Always use protection Clare Boothe Luce, the late American writer said, “Sometimes the best protection is a little money of her own”, and I think this is true in any relationship. It’s vital to protect your assets, including your income. But STD-protection isn’t about your contraceptives. It’s about not opening joint bank accounts or credit cards, co-signing car loans, moving in together or signing up for phone plans. At least, not ’ til you carefully follow Steps Two, Three and Four. 2 Sit down and have The Talk Before you get serious and definitely before you share accounts and car loans, have a conversation about money. These kinds of chats are traditionally awkward, but it’s important to sort out who owns what, air any debts and discuss your hopes for your finances. Having the chat will mean fewer surprises later, and if there are any financial skeletons lurking in either of your closets (or bank statements), you can both create a plan to deal with them ahead of time. 3 Insist on transparency I’m a firm believer in talking being the first step, but it’s just as important to see what’s going on with your own eyes. Make it hard for each other to financially cheat by sharing what you have and what you owe. I’m talking revealing bank statements. You don’t need to spill your login details (particularly at the beginning of the relationship), but arrange to have regular chats about how you’re going financially, where you show bank statements to each other. 4 Ask the professionals Before taking the giant step of joining funds, moving in together or applying for loans, see a professional. It’s key to understand worstcase scenarios and what this commitment means. Whether it’s moving in together or signing documents together, you have to realise that a fallout may result in the authorities hassling the easiest one to locate (which could be you). The ramifications, if your partner can’t step up, can be life-changing.
Well planned protection keeps the STD away!