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When you’re in a committed relationship, it can be difficult to talk about finances and our attitudes to money. However communicating about your expectations and needs when it comes to your financial situation can help to build a solid partnership and ensure you’re on the same page as your partner.
We carried out some research to look at the impact that finances has on your relationship. We found that over a third (38%) of people in a relationship say they have a very different approach to money than their partner.
A quarter (23%) have also had a money-related disagreement in the last three months. As a result, 86% of all people think you should talk about finances when in a new relationship.
*References: Vanquis Bank commissioned Opinium to survey 2,000 Uk adults in January 2022. The survey has been weighted to be nationally representative.
Chartered psychologist Dr Audrey Tang says financial compatibility is key to a healthy relationship. To encourage positive discussions around money, we partnered with Dr Audrey Tang to create five simple questions that reveal if couples are on the same page. Here are the questions you should be discussing with your partner on the topic of money.
1. If money were no object, what would you be doing right now?
This question will reveal how big your aspirations are for life, and if they are like your partner's. If your partner dreams about living out of a camper van and sleeping out under the stars, and you aspire to stay in five-star hotels and fly first class, there may be compatibility issues when it comes to how you want to spend your money. However, if you have similar life goals you can start having conversations about saving up to make those dreams a reality.
2. What are your financial priorities for the next five years?
Sadly, the nicer things in life don't come for free. So, it's important to first consider your personal goals and how much they will cost. Thinking about a certain time period, such as the next five years, will help you consider what you could practically achieve. Do you want to own your own home, have children, travel the world or drive a nice car? You'll then need to negotiate what is most important to you as a couple. This means a joint desire to travel might need to replace a big wedding.
3. Do you have any help with your finances?
This discussion point could reveal the point your partner considered themselves to be financially independent. It might also reveal their attitude to managing bills. For example, do they bury their head in the sand? Or do they open the credit card statement immediately and make a plan to pay it off. You may also want to check if your partner has any guarantors on their financial products.
It can help to raise the subject of financial support from an outside source. If your partner still receives money from their parents it might point towards past financial problems, or perhaps they took longer to get onto the career ladder. You should consider that the person/people providing for your partner may have a 'say' in financial decisions that affect you, both now and in the future.
4. What are your thoughts on long-term planning, such as retirement?
Talking about getting older can be a scary topic. However, knowing your own intentions and that you will 'be ok' can bring comfort to your loved ones. It can also show an underlying attitude to money which is important to discuss with your partner. If you are diligently saving for your future, this behaviour is likely to be important to you. It's also likely you need a partner who respects that. If you are carefree and take each day as it comes, then you might feel restricted with a partner who always needs to have a financial plan in place. Whatever your attitude to the future, you need to discuss how finances will be managed between the two of you, as it may mean one person is more reliant on the other.
5. How did you manage your money during the pandemic?
This can potentially reveal not only long-term behaviours but also a response to an unexpected life challenge. What did they do with money they saved on commuting costs? Were they buying to make themselves feel better? How did they manage their money if their work situation changed, such as being put on furlough? Funnily enough, you might even be able to interchange the word "money" with "time" and gain an even deeper insight!