TALKING ABOUT MONEY
(This was written in April, 2023)
Friday was a big day. My accountant told me how much tax I still owed for 2022. Stunned! It was a heap! Estimated tax payment for first quarter, 2023 was due by the same deadline. That was another, albeit smaller, heap. They were a heap more than expected.
Monday I was rich and by Saturday … I was poor again. I had wrongly believed one investment had a tax deferral built in.
Did I hide it from my wife? Nope. We had a frank discussion about what happened and what it would mean for the next 3 months. (Think rice and beans, beans and rice.)
How do you deal with financial issues?
Many couples foolishly neglect to discuss finances, especially when dating.
How much debt you have and of what kinds are both very significant. If your new love interest has over $100,000 in debt … shouldn’t you know BEFORE you decide to go to the next level? His/her debt will impact your life.
The kinds of debt (and amounts in round figures) are important, too. $$$ credit card debt may be a dealbreaker, but $$$ student loan debt may not be. Who wants to be on the meat hook for $$$ in revolving credit problems? Who wants to deal with the “repo man”? No one needs that hassle.
Is he on the hook for child support? That could be a 22 year obligation you just signed up for. (Plus, did he neglect to tell you he has a child from a previous relationship and you may have to give up personal plans every other weekend and play nice with his Ex?)
Does she have a judgment against her. Ouch! You could be her financial savior…is that what you’re signing up for? Does she have a car loan that she can’t always make payments on?
Have I frightened you enough for you to begin asking real questions??? Knowing what I do now, I would never become seriously involved with a woman (or man, if I had that bent) before I looked at her most recent credit card bill and bank account balance. Be ready to walk and not look back.
Two pieces of info help us here: A January survey by Western & Southern Financial Group found that only about 1/3 of married couples talked about financial issues before the wedding. Forbes recently reported that about 37% of divorced couples mentioned financial troubles as the reason.
Financial planner Dasha Kennedy says: “…couples should discuss financial goals, financial planning, accepting each other’s financial differences, different money management practices that are fair, and creating financial boundaries,”
Yup! But do you have a clue how each of those items are different from one another?
FINANCIAL RED FLAGS in a relationship:
- Repeatedly having to borrow money, or rotating bill payments to make ends meet.
- Neglecting to budget for big expenses (like rent).
- Hiding important financial details.
- Living beyond his/her means (like only paying the minimum on credit cards).
- Buying, buying, buying.
- “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine” mentality. (Dump him/her yesterday!)
- Unable to keep a job or has a minimum wage job. (And can’t see why that’s a problem.)
- “My money is my business” attitude. (Don’t think that will change when you marry…it won’t).
- Too much debt. (You know how much you are making and you should know how much the other is making…together will all your debts drown you?) Be realistic. Debt payments, of which you should pay more than minimum, should not be greater than 40% of your spendable income.
Get together in the dining room and lay your cards on the table.
- Savings you are willing to use for the benefit of the couple.
- Your philosophy on money.
- Your 5 year financial plan.
- Kids and how to afford them.
- Your debt solution plan.
- Housing and vehicles.
- Weights and measures.*
Finally, Kennedy says: “Give your partner time to show up. We all come from different backgrounds, different beliefs, we all have different experiences when it comes to money.”
* (Threw that in to see if you were still paying attention.)
Copyright 2023 Donald Whelpley
[PLEASE NOTE that Don is always open to discussing the thoughts and opinions he shares here and welcomes comments as shared in the comment section. He doesn’t use other social media platforms, as I do, and won’t see whatever you’d like to share with him elsewhere. ~ Sherry]
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