Imagine dating someone for 6 months and not knowing what they do for a living? Imagine carrying on with that relationship and one year later, you now ask how much they earn? Wouldn’t that be awkward?
Money, whether good or evil is quintessential to effectively managing any kind of relationship you’re in, to say the least for those of the romantic kind. You need to know, and you need to be willing to tell.
The question now, is how do you tackle money between you and your significant other? Let’s start by having these six awkward conversations about money with your partner.
1. The conversation about income level
We ask both parties to have this conversation not to sound pushy but out of curiosity, to be able to see if you measure up, can take care of yourself and can adequately support you both in the event of crises. We recommend you have this conversation if you’re seriously considering dating this person or at least within the first month of talking to each other.
From our upcoming web-series, you’ll find that in Nigeria, a lot of men feel exposed and vulnerable because they’re not sure what her intentions truly are when asked this and a lot of women feel scared to ask to not push the man away. But just think about it for a sec, the peace of mind from knowing outweighs the uncertainty of not. In fact, if either partner has no clear source and level of income, it either raises a red flag or prompts you two to work on changing that. Better safe than sorry.
We asked around the office and we found that other factors like level of maturity, gender, insecurity and trust also have high significance in telling each other about your income levels.
2. The conversation about spending habits and saving culture
Are you thrifty or are you a splurger? Do you tend to be tagged stingy? Generous? Do you have a good saving culture? Good that you know this about yourself. What about your S.O? At this point, you should’ve started to see some pattern to these things in your partner. Are you happy with it? We have another awkward conversation waiting to happen so you might as well initiate it.
To get to this point, you should’ve been dating for around three months, getting more comfortable around each other. It shouldn’t be as awkward as the first conversation, that’s if you guys lasted this long anyway.
You both need to be in synchrony to have different habits and still be a functioning couple. If your partner earns a lot and doesn’t have anything to show for it, you need to talk. Don’t allow yourselves to be one health emergency or loss of job away from becoming financially handicapped.
3. The conversation about debt
We know you’re not really about to keep going in that relationship without discussing debt. That’s potentially a lifetime of making money from hard work for another person.
Make sure you’re not knee-deep in that relationship yet at the time of this conversation because you might not like what you’ll hear afterwards.
If you even got to this stage in your getting to know one another, congrats. So, who is owing whom? What are the plans to pay back? Can you handle it? Are you willing to help? If you’re satisfied with the answers, then go ahead, if not, communicate clearly why you are taking the decision to bow out.
4. The conversation about dependents
Phew! You’re still here so that’s a good thing. We won’t go too deep into this one so here goes…
You might be the cash cow of your household. You might earn a lot and have a lot of financial responsibility. You might be a philanthropist who gives no matter what. It is just as important to know what role each other plays in their household and in general.
Initiating this conversation should be less awkward because at this stage, you would’ve started meeting members of each other’s families or would have noticed it. If you can handle it? Go ahead.
5. The conversation about which one is yours, mine and ours
This is second only to the conversation about income level. Without a clear definition of what belongs to whom, we have the perfect recipe for disaster. Ideally, this conversation should happen when you’re building your new home. Are you going to be a one income family? Are you going to have a joint account or to each their own?
There’s a popular Nigerian saying that goes “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is ours” often depicting the way Nigerian women see finances in marriage. Man, are you okay with this? If you’re not, it is time to address it no matter how awkward it might come out.
6. The Conversation about permission
This should happen ideally after marriage. We won’t get into the nitty gritty for now. But, it depends on the dynamics of the relationship. Both parties should already know each other’s income level, wants vs needs and know how they prioritise because it is a pretty sensitive topic. From a random poll at the office, it is not necessarily permission, it is more respect. In fact, value and respect. You value this person’s opinion that is why you tell them about that phone you’re about to buy with your money or that car or that appliance for your home.
We’re glad you made it this far through this piece. We also hope you are feeling charged and a little uncomfortable that there are some of these things you have yet to address. We’re also happy to hear from you. Reach us on twitter at @findreach and we’ll talk.
At REACH, we believe you can live a beautiful life, no matter your financial situation. For every awkward conversation we discussed, you can find a helping hand via our app on the Google Playstore. Follow this link to download the REACH app.