There’s a rea­son zero ro­mance nov­els in­clude the strap­ping hero whis­per­ing into the hero­ine’s ear, “My ATM bal­ance is in the six dig­its.” Talk­ing money isn’t ex­actly arous­ing. Still, you need to learn to nav­i­gate cru­cial fi­nan­cial con­ver­sa­tions.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Contents -

It’s time for a dif­fer­ent kind of talk with your part­ner.

You swiped right, share a Net­flix ac­count, and co-adopted a pooch. But even when a cou­ple passes cer­tain re­la­tion­ship mile­stones, one convo of­ten goes over­looked: “When you meet some­one new, you try to fig­ure out if you’re phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, and spir­i­tu­ally com­pat­i­ble, but it’s less in­stinc­tual to fo­cus on whether or not you’re fi­nan­cially com­pati- ble,” says Man­isha Thakor, founder of Moneyzen, an in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory firm. And if you think about it, that’s a pretty big over­sight, since money plays a ma­jor role in your hap­pi­ness to­gether. If you’re se­ri­ous about the dude you’re see­ing, it pays to get both of your an­swers to th­ese key ques­tions.

1. What’s Your Fi­nan­cial Bag­gage?

Dis­cuss where your hang-ups be­gan to un­der­stand each other’s hopes and fears. DID Both of Your par­ents Work? how DID they han­dle in­come?

Most of us ob­serve how our par­ents nav­i­gate their fi­nances… and then we ei­ther mimic them or con­sciously try to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. If your ex­pec­ta­tions don’t match up when it comes to what the two of you want to do, be clear about where you’re will­ing to com­pro­mise, says Tonya Rap­ley, founder of the fi­nan­cial-ed­u­ca­tion blog My Fab Fi­nance. Try “I don’t see my­self ever quit­ting my ca­reer, but I’d like more man­age­able hours even­tu­ally.” Or “I ex­pect a guy to con­trib­ute 50/50 to a re­la­tion­ship and at home.”

how DID Your par­ents talk About Money?

Maybe his said there was never enough, while yours liked to spend now and pay later. “The way our par­ents did or didn’t talk about money can make us fear­ful of it or act ir­re­spon­si­bly with it,” says Rap­ley. “If his par­ents never talked about it with him, he may be less fi­nan­cially ma­ture than you are.” Take that as a sign to keep a close eye on money mat­ters and dis­cuss them more of­ten.

Do You have ANY Fi­nan­cial re­grets?

Debt can have a ma­jor im­pact on a re­la­tion­ship, so this may be the most im­por­tant ques­tion you can ask. Ease into the topic to avoid any­one get­ting

de­fen­sive, ad­vises Rap­ley. Then say what is owed and why. And it’s im­por­tant to share how much you make and how much you’ve saved, says Farnoosh Torabi, au­thor of When She Makes

More. Once all the facts are out in the open, you can work as a team to cre­ate a plan of at­tack. “Start by do­ing what it takes to get out of debt, then build up sav­ings,” she says.

Do your par­ents pay any of your bills?

“Be­ing fis­cally tied to par­ents can sig­nal that a per­son is de­lay­ing a ma­jor step into adult­hood,” says Torabi. If he’s hes­i­tant (or un­able) to pay for his own cell phone, there may be other mile­stones he isn’t ready for. Which­ever of you is in this sit­u­a­tion should ex­plain why. Next, es­tab­lish what it will take to be­come in­de­pen­dent and build a fi­nan­cial life as a cou­ple. Start small—with a joint phone plan—or cut up that credit card, says Torabi.

2. Where Does your pay­check Go?

Find out how he spends his money on the reg so you don’t sweat the small stuff.

how Do you track your money?

He might have ev­ery­thing au­to­mated…or his fi­nances could re­sem­ble his clothes-strewn apart­ment. Same goes for you. “Peo­ple can be open to chang­ing the way they deal with money in their 20s and early 30s,” says Hi­lary Hen­der­shott, a fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant and wealth man­ager. “If you want to sync your money-man­age­ment styles, speak up and be spe­cific about what feels com­fort­able.”

Does any­one De­pend on you fi­nan­cially?

Both of you have (hope­fully!) di­vulged if you have a kid (or sev­eral) you’re sup­port­ing. But you should also be up­front if you send your mom a monthly check to help her get by or if he reg­u­larly sends money to a cash-strapped friend. Re­veal­ing th­ese kinds of con­straints presents a fuller pic­ture of your fi­nances. Don’t judge, warns Rap­ley, but do ask, “Do you see your­self do­ing this for­ever?” If he’s been wean­ing his BFF off, A+! But if you’re as­sist­ing your mom for good, fac­tor that into any joint bud­get­ing.

What splurge Would you never Give up?

The daily yoga class? Sea­son tick­ets to col­lege bas­ket­ball games? No mat­ter the in­dul­gence, come clean now to head off bit­ter­ness later on. “When you’re hon­est about things you won’t com­pro­mise on, it’s eas­ier to find com­mon ground,” says Torabi.

3. What are your money Dreams?

You have big plans for the next decade and be­yond… but does he?

What’s the one big thing you’re hop­ing to save for?

“The things we save for in life re­veal what we value,” says Jan­ice Gold­man, au­thor of Let’s Talk About

Money. Ask­ing this ques­tion of each other will high­light your pri­or­i­ties. If you’re both sock­ing away cash for a house down the road, great. But if his sav­ings are ear­marked for a year of travel while you’re sav­ing to go back to school, you need to sort things out.

What Do you think your life Will look like in 10 years?

Get spe­cific about your vi­sions for the fu­ture. Ask each other, “What kind of house will you live in?” “What car will you drive?” “What are you do­ing to­day to get you there?” says Rap­ley. The an­swers will show if you’re in sync but also re­veal if each of you is do­ing the work now to make th­ese dreams a re­al­ity even­tu­ally. If the re­sponses in­di­cate a de­tailed plan to reach that goal, then you’re good to go.

Take off The rose­c­ol­ored glasses and see what’s re­ally go­ing on.

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