Picking the perfect financial partner

Loves you…loves you not… Remember when finding love was all about picking the right petal? Today, finding and maintaining love is still about the choices you make, but the options are a bit more complex, especially when you are trying to pick the ideal financial partner. Since communication is key in a success relationship, taking the time to talk can be a great investment in your joint financial future, consider starting with the following five topics.

  1. How did your family handle money when growing up? Your financial style is based on years of experience. Think back to how your family handled money while you were growing up.
  2. What is your definition of a “financial crisis”? Different people have different thresholds for financial stress. For some people, getting calls from creditors is a minor irritation. For others, there mere thought of a credit card balance is enough to send them over the financial edge.
  3. Should we have one account or two? Different couples handle money differently. Having separate accounts can be a practical way to share financial responsibilities while maintaining individual freedoms. However, many couples who agree on spending habits find that a joint account works well for them.
  4. What do you consider a “big” financial decision? One key to a happy financial life is to vow to make all big financial decisions together. While that sounds good in theory, it is probably worth exploring in more detail. After all, one of you might consider a television a huge purchase, while the other might be thinking more along the lines of a car.
  5. What are your financial goals? Everyone, whether they’re in a relationship or single, should take the time to set financial goals. Setting agreed-upon short-, mid-, and long-term goals with your partner can help you both make smart financial decisions. Just be sure your goals are both realistic and flexible.

The answers to these questions should encourage a deeper discussion about your finances. Don’t forget to discuss areas like debt and credit standing. They may be a bit harder to talk about, but they are vital to your financial plan.

After having an open and frank conversation about your finances, reflect on the following qualities you should consider (and some you should pass on):

  • LOVES YOU: Someone who shares the same (or similar) financial goals and aspirations as you.
  • LOVES YOU NOT: Someone whose idea of good financial communication is a series of grunts, shrugs, and blank stares.
  • LOVES YOU: Someone who was raised with similar values. Since how your parents handled their money has a direct influence on the way you handle yours, finding someone who was raised with the same values can be an asset in your relationship.
  • LOVES YOU NOT: Someone who buys a Ferrari on a whim; and you were thinking that the gourmet coffee you drink in the mornings were splurges!
  • LOVES YOU: Someone whose financial strengths and values compliment your own.

For more relationship and money tips, download the free Love & Money eBook.

This is MMI’s weekly column. It is distributed via email to local and national media contacts. If you are a member of the media and would like to be added our the column distribution list, please send an email to Renee.McGruder@MoneyManagement.org

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Alexis Holloway is a former copywriter and e-Commerce Coordinator for MMI.

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