How Soon Should Money Come up in a New Relationship?

Should you bring up the subject of money early on in a relationship? Or is it better to wait until you're further down the line?

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So, you’ve met the love of your life.

The chemistry is off the charts. You’re head-over-heels in love. And you’re pretty sure they feel the same way about you.

You’re on top of the world… until you start thinking about money. *ugh* Should you bring up the subject of money early on in a relationship? Or is it better to wait until you’re further down the line?

It’s a tough question, and there’s no easy answer. After all, money is a sensitive subject for many people. But the fact of the matter is, money is an important part of any relationship. You need to be able to talk about finances openly and honestly if you want your relationship to thrive.

Why It’s Important to Have a Money Conversation in the First Place

You might be wondering why bringing up money in a new relationship is even important. After all, can’t you just wait and see how things play out?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Money is a huge part of our lives, and it impacts just about everything we do, from how we live to how we spend our free time.

Although some people think that money is a taboo topic to raise early on in a relationship, that shouldn’t be you.

Talking about money can be a great way to get to know your partner better, providing you with some insight into their values and financial goals.

This information is crucial in any relationship. After all, you don’t want to find out later on that you and your partner have completely different views on money.

And if you’re not on the same page about money, it can lead to some big problems down the road.

For example, let’s say you’re a saver and your partner is a spender. You might have different ideas about handling your finances, which can lead to arguments and conflict if you don’t talk about these differences early enough.

According to a survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling nearly 3 in 5 Americans admit to money being the major cause of stress in their relationship. In fact, 67% of respondents said that they often argued with their partners about money.

The numbers are not pleasant, which is why you must eat this frog. And eat it early too.

Having this money conversation early can help prevent any surprises in the future. For example, if you find out your partner has a lot of debt, you can address it on time and devise a plan to pay it off together.

Or, if you’re hoping to buy a house or start a family someday, discussing these financial goals on time will encourage you to start working towards them as a team.

Considering all of this, it’s clear that money is a big deal in relationships. And the sooner you have a conversation about it, the better.

Different Stages When Money Should Come up in a Relationship

Every relationship is different. And there’s no hard and fast rule about when you should have the money talk. But you want to avoid the emotional minefield of bringing it up too early or too late.

Who wouldn’t feel badgered when one partner goes on and on about money on the first date? Or what about the couple who gets married without ever discussing their finances?

Those are both extreme examples, but they illustrate an important point: there is a time and a place for everything.

Generally, you should start talking about money once you’re exclusive – usually when things start to get serious, and you’re both considering a future together.

Consider broaching the topic when you hit relationship milestones like:

#1. When You Start Dating

If you’re only seeing each other casually, then money might not be such a big deal. But once you start dating exclusively, it’s time to start talking about money.

This is especially true if you’re starting to spend more time together or share expenses like going out to dinner or taking trips.

At this point, you need to start setting some financial boundaries. For example, will you split the bill every time you go out? Or will one person always pay?

Talk about your long-term financial goals. Do you want to buy a house someday? Or are you hoping to retire early?

These are all important things to discuss with your partner.

#2. When you decide to move in together 

If you’re thinking about taking the next step in your relationship and moving in together, money will be a big part of that decision.

You need to discuss how you will split the rent or mortgage, who will pay for utilities, and whether you will have joint or separate bank accounts.

While having the conversation, be honest about your financial situation. For example, if you have a lot of debt, a gambling addiction, or a poor credit score, you need to tell your partner before you move in together.

#3. When you decide to marry

Marriage is a big financial decision. And before you tie the knot, you need to have a serious conversation about money.

And this isn’t just about wedding plans and honeymoons, you need this conversation to plan for your future together.

For example, you must decide whether to keep your finances separate or merge them. It would help if you discussed debt, investments, and long-term financial goals.

This is a lot to think about. But it’s pertinent to have these conversations before you get married. That way, you can avoid any financial surprises down the road.

#4. When you decide to have kids

Kids are a bundle of joy. But they’re also a big financial responsibility.

As soon as you start seeing yourself as a parent, it’s time to start talking about money with your partner.

You need to discuss whether you’re going to stay home or go back to work, how you’ll afford child care, and whether you’ll send your kids to private or public school.

Saving for your kids’ future, including college tuition, wedding expenses, and anything else you want to help them with, should come up in the conversation.

Although you are obviously in love and mean well to each other, it doesn’t mean that money problems won’t arise. It’s best to be proactive and have the money talk sooner rather than later. And with each milestone in your relationship, revisit the conversation to ensure you’re still on the same page.

Tips for Money Conversations

The key to any good conversation is communication. Before the money talk, endeavor to be clear about what you want to say. Plan to have an open and honest discussion with no judgment or assumptions.

We believe conversions like this can produce a bonding moment for you and your partner and even help improve your relationship. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Treat money conversations like a business meeting

Money is a serious business. Why not treat it like one?

Schedule a time to sit down with your partner and talk about money. The money talk should not be an impromptu discussion, especially if you are approaching the topic for the first time.

Leave sentiments out of the conversation. Be honest about your financial situation and what you’re hoping to achieve. This isn’t the time to be shy. Speak out and lay all your cards on the table.

Then, ask all the tough questions you need to ask—questions  about income, debt, credit score, and other financial details. Be prepared to answer these questions yourself as well.

The goal is to come out of the conversation clearly, understanding each other’s financial situation and what you need to do to move forward.

Make financial decisions together

One of the ways to demystify money in a relationship is to make financial decisions together.

Start small by creating a joint spending plan or managing your bills together. Then add bigger decisions as you grow together as a couple.

Making these decisions together will help you understand each other’s money habits and open up a dialogue about your financial goals.

If you need to make a bigger financial decision like buying a house or starting a family, be sure to involve your partner in the decision-making process. The goal is to make a decision that works for both of you.

Save together

Financially literate couples know the importance of saving. And saving together is a great way to stay on the same page about your financial goals.

You can open up a joint savings account and make regular deposits. Then, use the money to reach your financial goals, whether it’s buying a house or saving for retirement.

Saving together will help you build financial stability and security. And it’s also a great way to teach your kids about money.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s beneficial to have the money conversation as soon as you achieve a relationship milestone, like dating, moving in together, or getting married.
  • Money is a serious business. So treat it like one by scheduling a time to have the money talk with your partner.
  • Money should be a regular topic of conversation in your relationship. You can avoid money problems down the road by talking about money early and often.
  • Be open and honest about your financial situation and be prepared to answer tough questions.
  • Get on the same page about your finances by making financial decisions and saving money together.

Winning couples are the ones who have the money conversation early enough.

From the dating period to marriage and everything in between, money should be a regular topic that you’re both comfortable discussing.

You are in this together, after all. So it only makes sense that you’re transparent about your financial situation and work together to achieve your money goals. The sooner you have the money talk, the better off your relationship will be.

Ready to take your relationship with money to the next level? Download the Stackin app today and get started on your financial wellness journey!

Candice Na

Candice Na

Candice Na is the VP of Marketing at Stackin. With over 10 years in the wellness and relationship space, she is obsessed with bridging the gap between finance and emotions. If Candice isn’t hanging out with her husband and their two kids, she’s either unsuccessfully planning a vacation, looking up someone’s birth chart, or getting far too emotionally invested in reality dating shows.