Dating and finances are a hot topic whether you are currently single or hoping to be in a serious relationship.  According to Marriage.com, the second top reason that couples divorce is because they can’t stop fighting over money. So, it is vital you become comfortable talking about personal finances if you want to give your relationship the best chance of surviving.

However, one question remains – when is it appropriate to bring up personal finances with someone you’re dating? Should you bring up the subject on a first date, or should you wait a few months before you broach the money issue? In this article, we offer some advice about this delicate topic.  

If you’re very serious about finding “the one” and making sure that your partner-to-be shares your attitude about keeping a favorable credit score and saving money for a rainy day, then you may actually want to bring up money on a first date.  If that feels way too early, give it a few dates to make sure this is someone you see a future with.  

However, you can be discreet with your curiosity and ask innocent questions that will give you clues about your date’s spending and saving habits. You may consider adjusting your wording or finding unique ways to weave these topics into regular conversation:

  • Could you see yourself having children, and do you think it’s difficult to raise children in this day and age?
  • What was your childhood like? How did your parents treat you growing up? 
  • What was your first job, and how old were you when you first started working?
  • What are your long-term goals regarding lifestyle and career?
  • Do you have dreams of traveling, and what are you doing to move closer toward those dreams?
  • Have you ever worked a part-time job or done another side hustle in an effort to make more money?
  • Do you feel comfortable with your current lifestyle? If not, what about it would you change and how?

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you weed out people who aren’t as informed about personal finances. You may also find some people who don’t have good answers to these questions but who seem eager and open minded. Don’t write off a potential partner just because they don’t have a financial plan now. Maybe he or she just needs someone like you to show them the way! 

Dating and finances: Additional questions to ask

dating and finances

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Talk about your individual money situation

If you have the initial financial talk and everything seems positive, you are probably on cloud nine excited to see where your relationship is going to go.  With that being said, there are more questions you want to be thinking of when it comes to dating and finances.

Where each of you are financially is important to find out

  • How much does each of you earn? (net income)
  • How much do you each owe? (student loans, credit cards, and other debt)
  • What does your spending look like?
  • What does your savings plan look like? (do either of you have a budget?)

These are specific questions and you may not feel comfortable asking them out right so we have an easy way for you to approach these.  Take the opportunity to bring up a specific example for yourself of something financial you just accomplished.  Maybe you just made the final payment on your student loan debt or you just paid off your credit card.  You can work this milestone into a conversation and casually ask if they have any student loans or any other debt. This will help give you an idea of what they have going on financially so you know what you are getting into as your relationship progresses.

Discuss what your individual money goals are

It is essential to know what each others plans are for your money.  This means what that looks like currently and what are the plans for your money in the future.  You want to know that your financial habits and goals are compatible with one another.

For example, if your dream is to be a homeowner, then your goals may be living in an apartment with a roommate or doing away with vacations in order to save money. What does your partner think of this?  Or let’s say your partner has even more lofty money goals.  Will you be able to join him in the sacrifices necessary in order to accomplish them?

Chances are your money goals will not be perfectly aligned at the moment.  The key is to know where each of you stands so you can see if you can both happily get behind what the other has set for their financial goals.

How will you combine your finances?

When it comes to dating and finances, are you a what’s mine is mine type of person?  You need to give thought as to whether you want to combine finances with your partner.  Whether you get a joint bank account or not, you do need to have a joint budgeting sheet.  This will help you keep track of your money and where it is being spent.

Whether you choose to combine finances or not, their money situation is going to affect yours. This is especially true if they are carrying debt. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. You may find it may be smarter to keep your finances separate.

Dating and finances go hand in hand

When money isn’t a point of conflict in a romantic partnership, then you can focus on growing closer to your partner and achieving your shared goals together.   For this reason, it is important to have these conversations.