Pattie Lovett-Reid: Talking about finances may not be romantic, but is necessary



Let’s agree on one thing: there is nothing romantic about money. You can love money all you want, but it will never love you back.

However, having a clear and honest discussion about your financial situation and money mindset before you walk down the aisle just seems to make sense, but it isn’t always easy.

A recent RBC Love, Money and Marriage poll focused on couples who have recently tied the knot or are thinking about getting married found the majority (68%) of those surveyed said they were talking more about finances with their partner since the start of the pandemic, yet nearly half (47%) admitted finances are one of the biggest stressors in their relationship.

In fact, one-third (32%)  found it hard to talk about finances with their partner and also were not comfortable discussing each other’s current financial situation.

To some degree I get it, not everyone is comfortable talking about money. Yet, 88 per cent of those surveyed acknowledged that having similar financial goals and habits and being aligned on how to spend and save money were deemed important for a long-term relationship.

I would agree with those findings. One of the leading stressors in a relationship and cause for divorce is money misalignment.

So how do you go about figuring out your financial situation as a couple? Here are a few considerations:

  1. Come clean on what you owe, what you own and how you like to spend your money. That includes all outstanding debt, from student loans to credit cards.

  2. Be honest about your cash flow. This doesn’t mean you have to have joint bank accounts, but it does mean you have to fully disclose if you are spending more than you are earning.

  3. What means more to you: a big engagement ring, a wedding or buying a home? It isn’t right or wrong but it is important to have big-picture financial discussions.

Financial goals can and often change so this isn’t a one-and-done conversation.

According to the RBC report, 53 per cent of non-married respondents said the money they had been saving for a wedding is now going toward other financial priorities such as buying a home, starting a family or downsizing their wedding ceremony.

Life or a pandemic can throw you a curveball and your ability to react and respond comes down to being financially prepared to not only have but to continue having the “money talk.”

Financial discussions are key, especially when it comes to taking on debt or big purchase items. I have often said that you are always better off knowing and sharing ahead of time your financial dreams than finding out after you are married with the potential for a big misalignment.

It is absolutely romantic to talk about where you want to live, your life goals, vacation plans and even growing a family. However, the answers to these questions always come back to the harsh reality of affordability.

So when you really think about it, money can be romantic — it all comes down to how you plan on building your life together financially.

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