Dating can be fun, but it isn’t always cheap. Whether you and your partner enjoy going out for dinner, traveling, or spending money on lavish gifts for one another, money can sometimes be a huge factor in your relationship from the very beginning. If you find yourself stressing about your partner’s spending habits, or you’re unsure if you’re on the same page about finances, these important questions will help you figure out how to get back on track.
How much debt do you have?
Though it might seem like an uncomfortable question, many of us have debts, whether it’s from student loans, credit cards or other financial burdens. According to a study from Arizona State University, couples who argue over financial management practices several times a year were associated with decreased relationship quality. So if you’re looking to have a strong relationship with your partner, it’s something you both need to be transparent about.
Related: All your personal finance FAQs, answered.
How much should we spend on vacations each year?
When taking a vacay, it’s easy to spend money. In fact, many people tend to overspend while on holiday: according to a Credit Karma survey, more than 42 per cent of Americans have gone into debt to finance their summer travels plans. This is why you need to make sure you and your partner budget for going away together, to make sure it’s actually something you can both afford.
Should we get a joint bank account?
Not all couples want to share their finances. Some people think each person should be responsible for their own things, and others think it’s easier to share expenses. According to research from the University of Notre Dame, couples who share money from a joint account are less likely to spend wastefully. So it might be time to discuss whether a shared bank account is the right fit for you and your partner’s lifestyle.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
It’s important to know if your partner has ever filed for bankruptcy before, as doing so often decreases their credit score to the lowest possible rating. With a low credit score, it’s difficult to get loans or new credit cards, and it’ll be particularly challenging to rent an apartment. Unless you’re rolling in money and comfortable being the one in the relationship paying for most things, you need to ask your partner this question ASAP.
Related: 16 billionaires who are single.
Do you want to have children one day?
On the surface, this might not seem like a money question, but having children is pretty expensive. In Canada, it’s estimated that a child will cost you between $10,000 and $15,000 a year until they turn 18, and that’s only if you’re planning on having one baby. Adoption is also not cheap. If having a big family is important to you, knowing where your partner stands on this and knowing whether you can afford it is a discussion that should be had, especially when factoring in the cost of child care.
What is the max amount you’d want to spend on a wedding?
If you and your partner have decided that marriage is in the cards, knowing what kind of wedding you want and how much you’re willing to spend is key to making you both happy ahead of your big day. According to Wedding Wire, the average nuptials cost in Canada is roughly $29,450. Asking this important question helps you to both gage whether or not you need to start saving up soon or consider having a smaller wedding.
Have you started saving for retirement?
Maybe your partner has been busy travelling, or studying in school without thinking down the line to retirement. If you’re intent on building a life together, you’ll ideally want to retire at some point around the same time. The average Canadian needs between 70 to 80 per cent of their pre-retirement income in order to comfortably retire. Knowing if they’ve started saving, and when they’re aiming to stop working, can help you set financial goals together that align.
How much should we save for emergencies?
Life can throw some nasty curveballs sometimes, and you never know when an emergency is right around the corner. You and your partner might have different incomes, so it’s important to set aside money for a fund that can support both of you in the event you need to dig into those savings.
Related: The best credit cards of 2021.
Should we buy a home or rent?
Knowing whether you guys are renters or buyers is something you’ll need to agree on if you’re in the stage of the relationship where you’re thinking about moving in together. Plus, if you guys are planning on buying, you’ll need to know if you have enough saved or if you’ll be getting some help from family — according to CIBC, almost one-third of first-time home buyers are getting $82,000 from their parents to help them purchase their first house.
How do you feel about loaning money to relatives?
If your parents, siblings or other relatives run into a tough spot, you need to know whether your partner is comfortable helping out. While some people might not be (and that’s OK, sometimes you need to set those boundaries!) other people will do whatever their family needs, which could create tension if you don’t agree on supporting them with your hard-earned money. Find out sooner rather than later where your partner stands when it comes to loaning out to family members.