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How an Early Money Talk Can Save You from Debt

On a first date, it’s easy to stick to small talk. Weather, hobbies — you don’t want to get into something as serious as debt.

For young couples, though, statistics show that the earlier you have a “money talk,” the more likely you’ll be able to avoid needing help with debt down the road.

Financial compatibility is so important in a great relationship. This month, a BDO Canada poll found that six in ten Canadians in a relationship – living separately, common law or married – say they wish they could change their partner’s financial habits. These nasty habits include overspending, not saving enough, and not keeping track of spending.

Worrying still is that 36 per cent of respondents rarely or never discuss personal finances. The good news? Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers or Boomers to talk about their debt early in a relationship.

Starting early is good. If you’re just starting a relationship, here are some tips and resources for broaching the often awkward subject of your financial future.

How to approach a money conversation

 It can be hard to talk about money with someone you’ve just met. You’ll want to get into the money talk as soon as you’re comfortable doing it. You also want to have a conversation that doesn’t seem like nagging or making your partner feel like they’ve done something wrong.

Always try to bring the topic up lightly – asking something like “What do you think about how I spend?” Eventually, these discussions can grow into more serious topics — like what your future spending goals are. If you can agree on goals with your significant other, you can start creating a road map to get there without debt.

 It’s also well-known that dating can be a pain on your wallet. Having a money conversation can help you both save on the “getting to know you” part of a relationship. Finance writer Danielle Kubes writes about how dating can drain your wallet, and offers tips for saving money, such as:

  • Use reward points on a date (i.e. going to the movies)
  • Schedule your dates around happy hours
  • Find cheap outings, like a park

Once you start talking about money, you can start paying off debt

Our poll found that Canadians with the most debt are the most likely to never talk about finances with their partner. This needs to change. By talking about money early and often, you can avoid adding to your debt as a couple.

And if you already have debt? Talking can help you find solutions, like consolidating your debts and paying them off together.

Breaking down the barriers to talk about money is well worth the initial discomfort. A relationship free from secrets is a happier one, and talking openly and honestly about your finances can also be the first step toward debt relief.

 Looking for tips on how to start a money conversation with your significant other? Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #DebtSolutions, #DebtConfessions, and #LoveAndMoney.

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