By Garrick & Maya Kebede
No matter what your friends try to tell ya, We were made to fall in love
And we will be together, any kind of weather, It’s like that, it’s like that….
If only it was this easy to discuss finances in a relationship, Bobby.
Deciding when to discuss money in a relationship is not an easily navigated task. However, sans one’s spiritual values it is probably the single most important conversation any young couple can have.
There is no formula to solve this equation and it will vary depending on the couple and the individual characters involved. For the sake of this piece and brevity we will make some basic assumptions. These assumptions are: Both are adults whom are relatively responsible with respect to money (pay bills on time, save somewhat moderately, etc). These are two adults who have reasonably defined financial goals (paying off debt, not buying more home than they can afford, etc.) If you do not have either of these traits then do yourself a favor. DO NOT GET INTO A RELATIONSHIP UNTIL YOU DO. If you are already in a relationship and lack these traits then DEVELOP THEM IMMEDIATELY.
Now that these assumptions are out of the way lets examine the question at hand.
When should a young couple first discuss finances? For Maya and I this conversation actually began after our first couple dates. I actually initiated the conversation by plainly asking her where she saw herself in 10 years. A little secret about finances is they effect every aspect of our lives so if her answer made no mention of finances, then I would have asked her where she saw herself from a financial aspect over that time. Luckily, for me she made it clear that one of her goals was to pay off her student loans and her only credit card. Once she expressed that intention I plainly stated that I also wanted to have my student loans paid off over that time and was currently sacrificing to pay mine off over the next five years. I then mentioned that another goal of mine was to actually save up six figures by age 40 and become a cash millionaire by age 50. This led to a more in depth conversation about how we were going to accomplish these individual goals. The key things to take away from this conversation were that we both CONFIDENTLY and IN PLAIN ENGLISH stated to each other our primary financial goals EARLY ON.
What are the benefits of this type of intentional conversation?
Being this intentional this early has some surprising tangible and intangible benefits. The first benefit is that it takes pressure off both parties involved later on when discussing things such as budgeting and major purchases such as a home. They have already established an open line of communication henceforth, both parties feel secure with being open and honest. The second benefit is security. It is a secure feeling when one knows that your partner has the same value as you. It gives a feeling of never being apart mentally even if you are miles away from each other physically. A price can not be placed on that. The final benefit is level of respect that other people give you. Between Facebook, blog comments, emails and face to face conversations we have received hundreds of statements from people affirming that what we are doing inspires them set similar goals. In that regard we have created a mini movement that we hope other people join.
Every little step I take, You will be there
Every little step I make, We’ll be together