Finances are a difficult topic for many relationships but from the moment you start dating a person, it is possible to see their financial priorities.
What do they value? What experiences bring them joy? There are no right or wrong priorities, but it does help to have the same values so you can work towards your dreams as a couple. As you get to know each other and date, you will also find clues on how they will manage their money in a relationship.
Who pays for dinner? Do you split things evenly or does one person carry the load?
Every relationship has its unique dynamics. Some couples function happily with one partner carrying the lion’s share of the financial burden while others prefer to split things 50/50.
The key thing to remember is that the person you meet is not likely to change their financial values, so you have to be comfortable that you are both on the same page. Do not be blinded by the early signs of financial incongruencies, or hope that your partner will somehow change.
While any potential partner gives clues to their priorities, it doesn’t have to be a scavenger hunt. Have an honest conversation with your partner about money and see how refreshing it can be.
My greatest tip for success is to reframe the discussion. This shouldn’t be difficult because money should be exciting! With it, we have the resources to educate ourselves and our future children, travel, retire comfortably and enjoy all those little extras.
Perhaps you both want to rent property instead of buying, or maybe you want to forgo spending money on the cars you drive in favour of a travel fund. Finding common passions and dreaming up ways to fund them is incredibly satisfying.
It’s also important to remember that financial discussions shouldn’t be daunting. You don’t need to have a great degree of financial literacy to get started, just some basic mathematical ability. In basic terms, you simply need to ensure you don’t spend more than you earn. With this basic concept in place, you and your partner can build a foundation for prosperity, in whatever direction you choose.
It is a shame that discussions over finances are set aside because people are fearful, shy, or afraid of discussing heavy topics too soon. Approach the issue of money with lightness and excitement. Break it down into basic steps. The sooner you as a couple work out your financial goals, the more successful the outcome will be.
Jo-Anne Bailey, Sales Director & Country Manager for Africa, Franklin Templeton Investments