Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating. Today's topic: Money questions to ask your partner before getting married.
Once you say "I do," and tie the knot, you definitely don't want to wish you'd said, "I don't" once you realize all the student loan debt or other money issues your significant other has — but neglected to tell you in advance. "Tying the knot" will then take on a stronger meaning, as the financial issues won't just slip through the knot. Rather, you'll literally be tied to your partner's money issues, too.
"You may not think of your marriage as a business deal, but a huge part of it is just that," Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together, tells Bustle. "Just like a business, a marriage takes in income, pays expenses, and is supposed to have a little profit (savings) left over. Money is one of the biggest generators of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships."
What do couples fight about when it comes to finances? Just about everything. "Couples argue about spending, saving, budgeting, and disparity in earnings," Dr. Tessina says. "When couples have difficulty with money, it can lead to financial infidelity: out-of-control spending, lying, and hiding finances, which can destroy the relationship. Overcoming money problems together and working as a team will strengthen the bond between you, and help you create a healthy, lasting partnership. Money can create misery or happiness, depending on how you manage it. The most valuable thing in a long-term, stable relationship is having a partnership, and most new couples don't realize that money is a major factor in marital happiness."
So what can you do to prevent financial issues as you take your relationship to the next level? It starts by talking about it. "Because finances can be a key source of friction in a marriage, couples should strive to achieve financial wellness and have open communication about finances both before and during their marriage," Matt Reiner, co-founder and CEO of Wela, and app out that helps couples get their finances on track, tells Bustle. But financial advisers and money apps like Wela can come in handy too when it comes to reaching your goals as a couple.
"Wela utilizes artificial intelligence to track users' daily, weekly, and monthly spending habits, and provides personalized feedback based on financial needs and goals. Using the concept of a 'daily spend limit,' Wela helps you better understand how your decisions today impact financial goals that are months, years, or even decades down the road — ones that you should be setting together with your new life partner."
As you can see, all it takes to prevent many of the financial issues you and your partner could potentially have is some pre-engagement money talks. Below are key questions to ask your partner before money conflicts get out of hand — literally.