I remember when I first got the dating bug. It was the summer between junior and senior high school and there was a young lady with whom I was smitten. I’d had crushes before, but she actually admitted that she liked me too! This relationship did not last very long and was the first of a few teenage experiences with puppy love. Most of my dates during this period took place in the one location we could actually hang out – her living room! Why? In addition to dating girls whose parents wanted to keep an eye on their daughters’ boyfriends, it was the only place we could afford. We were teenagers who had no money!
It was around this time that my uncle taught me a phrase that I never forgot. As he saw my increasing interest in dating, he told me: “No Finance, No Romance.” I was like: “What does that mean?” He said that as I got older and wanted to pursue more serious relationships, it was going to be important to have my own money. Not just for leisure activities like going to a movie or an amusement park, but eventually for more serious pursuits like owning a home or starting a family. He encouraged me to be responsible about my finances so that when I was ready to settle down (much later!), I’d have my money game tight and come to a relationship as a financial equal and not a burden.
Well, fast forward “a-hem” years and I’m now in the relationship I envisioned as a teenager. I’m happily married, I have a wonderful family and vocation. However, one of the most important aspects of my personal growth in preparing me to receive this gift of a partner was the need to get a handle on my financial affairs. I’m grateful that I was able to do a lot of this work as a single person because I was prepared to come to my relationship with my wife with stable, if not perfect, finances. Early in our relationship and even as we approached our wedding day, we had deep conversations about our money histories, current financial status and future goals. We regularly check in about these things and while the conversations aren’t always easy, I’m thankful that we can discuss our finances with transparency and honesty.
If you’re in a relationship where you feel stuck in the money conversation with your partner, I invite you to check out my video on the subject here. I offer a simple checklist of statements that you and your partner can respond to in order to get the ball rolling. The most important part of any conversation about money with your boo is patience and a good sense of humor – especially when you’re not seeing eye to eye. Good luck and let me know what you think of the video or how your money talks go!
Happy Valentine’s Day!