When looking for a partner, we check for compatibility in different aspects of life but often neglect financial compatibility. Money has long been known to be a leading cause of stress in relationships but most Nigerians still shy away from the talk on finances.
We usually assume things will go a certain way and become surprised when they don’t. Here are 6 money questions to ask your partner before making that long-term commitment:
1. How much money do we need to live comfortably?
Decide where you would like to live and estimate the cost of living there. Are your combined salaries enough to cover all expenses without taking debts or dipping into savings?
To prevent future disagreements, you should also decide who is responsible for what portion of the bills. Determine whether you will contribute by income or contribute a fixed amount.
2. Do you have any outstanding debt?
You should have a clear picture of your partner’s financial position before making any long-term commitments. Find out if they intend to pay off their debt from their income or savings.
Ask if you two will be facing your combined debt together or individually. As a side note, you should know: How much debt is acceptable or unacceptable to them? This could be an indicator of their spending habits and priorities.
3. How much money should be in our emergency fund?
An emergency fund should have between 3 to 6 months worth of your cost of living stashed away in case of emergencies. Calculate how much this is for both of you.
Discuss who makes the contributions, how much you will each contribute to the fund and how often you will contribute.
4. What is our financial responsibility towards other family members?
Most people have dependents or relatives they have some form of financial responsibility towards.
You should know what this looks like for your partner and how much will be set aside from your income to handle these costs.
5. What kinds of purchases must you both agree on before making?
When handling family finances, there should be some items that you should discuss with your partner before purchasing.
These are usually costly things like a car or large household equipment. You should agree on what costs need to be discussed before taking from the family finances.
6. How will you be dividing financial responsibilities?
To prevent future disagreements, you should decide who will be responsible for what portion of the bills. Determine whether you will contribute by income or contribute a fixed amount regularly.
For some families, only one partner works and is wealthy enough to provide for the family, while others can’t survive that way. You need to separate personal bills from family expenses and decide who pays what.
7. Do we keep our money in individual or joint accounts?
Some people prefer to have a joint account for settling the family bills, while others are sceptical about the idea.
Whatever the case, make sure you and your partner are on the same page with this decision. If you have assets you’re coming into the relationship with, be clear on ownership and how those assets will be managed and shared.
Many relationships have ended due to disagreements about money, so it’s good to have important discussions before tying the knot. Hopefully, the ones we’ve listed should be a good guide on where to start. If you know any more you’d like to share, tell us in the comments below!
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When money realizes that it is in good hands, it wants to stay and multiply in those hands.
― Idowu Koyenikan