Avoiding awkward money moments in relationships

Here's the why, when and how to talk finance at each stage of your relationship.

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  1. No matter whether you’re newly dating this Easter, head over heals in love or have been together forever, there is one topic that is bound to create some awkward money moments in relationships.

While asking about saving plans on the first date is a little forward, it is important you don’t wait until after you have settled down to discuss money.

Here’s the why, when and how to talk finance at each stage of your relationship.

Talking finances isn’t just good for your peace of mind; it’s also good for your relationship:

While “life admin” may not be sexy, studies show talking finance as a couple sets clear goals and helps clarify financial values, dreams and aspirations.

Money issues can be a source of stress, but working together to keep life admin, like finances and life insurance, in-check can reduce conflict and stress — significantly improving relationship health.

How to talk finance at each stage of the relationship

The honeymoon period

While it’s early on in the relationship, it is important to start introducing money discussions — particularly as the level of emotional intimacy increases.

This ensures you are aligned, helping to avoid conflict and address red flags.

Transparency is key during this phase to be honest about your spending style and financial values. In the honeymoon period, you can ask:

  • What does money mean to your partner?
  • What is your partner’s greatest financial worry?
  • Is your partner a spender or a saver?
  • What is your partner’s financial goals?
  • How important to your partner is having emergency savings and paying off debt?
  • What is your partner’s view on joint finances?

 The nesting period

This is where “I” becomes “We”. You’re nesting and deeply in love, but don’t become complacent!

During this phase couples often begin to pool finances. To increase financial harmony and reduce conflict it is important you communicate financial expectations, create a budget and set mutual financial goals.

It is also a good idea to consider your bills, savings, retirement plans and insurance policies.

Think about what policies are contributing to the creation of a solid relationship (like life insurance) and what bills are placing undue stress (perhaps high mobile phone bills).

In the nesting period, you can ask:

  • How do you feel about shared financial roles?
  • What are your, and your partner’s, financial concerns?
  • How will you split the finance roles?
    • For example, this might include bill paying, budgeting and long-term planning.
  • Will the finances be pooled? If so how will you negotiate spending and saving?

The life-long period

Your relationship has weathered life’s storms. You’re a team, and you’re in it for the long-term. With that in mind, it’s time to think about your mutual financial goals and long-term financial planning.

In particular, this will include thinking about the future — no matter what might happen.

Putting life insurance in place may not seem like the most romantic topic of conversation, but looking out for your partner’s long-term needs and financial security reduces stress and shows that you’ll love and care for them even after you’re gone.

Once the day-to-day and future “life admin” are taken care of, you’re free to inject a little more passion and adventure into your life and romance!

Katia Loisel is working alongside ANZ on their Love Insurance campaign as an independent commentator during the month of April. 

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