When it comes to relationships, talking about money can seem a bit taboo. Nonetheless, knowing what money questions to ask your partner is important if your relationship is getting serious.
With money being one of the leading causes of divorce, it’s important to talk about it before you say, “I do.” So if your relationship is headed toward marriage, or you plan to move in together, finances are one thing you want to talk about.
Knowing how to communicate with your spouse on financial topics is key so let's get into the top questions about money you need to ask your partner.
15 Money questions to ask your significant other
Not sure how to broach the topic? Here are 15 money questions to ask in your relationship.
1. How would you describe your spending habits?
Differences in spending habits can cause huge riffs within a relationship. Imagine being someone who saves every penny while your partner spends every cent they earn. It’s hard to get on the same page when you’re at two opposite ends of the spectrum.
It’s important to know how your partner spends their money. This goes beyond whether they are a spender or a saver. You need to understand if they actually spend responsibly or on a whim—without regard to a budget.
Knowing how each of you spends money will allow you to determine how you can effectively manage money together.
2. How do you feel about debt?
Having an excessive amount of debt can cause both financial and emotional strain on a relationship. Debt can be stressful because it hinders your ability to save, invest, and simply enjoy life.
The purpose of asking this question is not just to determine if your partner has debt and how much, but to learn how they feel about debt.
Does your partner believe in keeping debt, or do they believe in being debt-free? Furthermore, do they use credit cards or take out loans to fund their lifestyle and live beyond their means?
Knowing the impact that debt can have, it’s important to know how your partner handles their debt. If you’re a person who doesn’t like having debt, being with someone who is ok with it may be an issue. This is one of the most important money questions to ask as your relationship gets serious.
3. What did you learn about money growing up?
A lot of what we do as adults stem from what we learn as children. The things that we see, hear and are taught as children ultimately shape our adulthood. This includes how we handle our money.
If you’ve never seen money handled responsibly, it’s likely that you’ll also handle money irresponsibly—if you aren’t taught otherwise.
Asking your partner what they learned about money growing up will shed some light on why they handle their money a certain way. It will also allow you to give some grace when they may make some mistakes.
4. How did your parents handle money?
For many of us, our first lessons about money came from watching our parents. You may have seen them paying bills or the stress caused by unexpected expenses. You may have also seen one parent handle the money, while the other didn’t.
How your parents handled money informs how you may handle money within a relationship. For instance, if your parents managed money together, it may be important for you to do the same with your partner.
If you grew up in a single-parent household, you probably learned to be financially independent at an early age.
Ask your partner how their parents handled money and, in turn, how they would like to handle money within a serious relationship. Do they have specific views on who should handle money in the relationship? Do they believe that both partners should make money?
5. How do you think couples should manage their finances?
Although our parents shape how we handle money, it’s important to know your partner’s perspective on how couples should handle finances. Their beliefs about how couples should manage their money may not be the same as their parents’ beliefs.
Do they believe that you should combine finances? Is the man responsible for managing the money? Should you have separate bank accounts? These are all topics that should stem from your discussion around this money question.
6. What tools do you use to manage your finances?
If you’re going to be financially responsible, you should have a plan for managing your money. Whether it’s a written down budget, an app that you use, or even a spreadsheet, you should have something that allows you to plan where your money is going.
The actual financial tool that they use to manage their finances really isn’t important. What you really want to gauge is if they are proactively planning their money. Are they being fiscally responsible or just leaving everything up to chance?
7. Are you saving for retirement?
As you and your partner think about the future of your relationship, you should also be thinking about your financial future. In other words, are you preparing yourself for retirement?
Although retirement may seem far off, it’ll give you a good perspective on your partner’s forward-thinking and planning. Are they saving for retirement? If not, this may pose a problem later on if you choose to get married.
Not saving for retirement means that you and/or your partner will have to continue working in order to have the funds to live on in old age. Is this something that you’re ok with?
Even if they aren’t saving for retirement now, asking them questions about money may spur them to get started.
8. Is investing important to you?
Investing is a vehicle for building wealth. If you want to build generational wealth, you should be thinking about how you can invest your money so that it can grow.
If accumulating wealth is your goal, you’ll want to know if your partner is on the same page. Even if they aren’t investing at the moment, having a plan to at least invest in the future will at least show their commitment to building wealth.
9. Do you financially support anyone else?
If you’re planning on combining finances with your partner, you’ll need to know where your money will be going. So one of the most vital money questions to ask is if they are financially supporting anyone else. This could be a child, parent, or other family members.
Financially supporting someone outside of your household could become a financial strain. Being aware that this is a responsibility ahead of time will allow you to plan and budget accordingly.
This is also the perfect time to decide if financially supporting family members outside of children is something that you agree with. You should seek to understand each other’s financial boundaries when it comes to supporting others and how that will affect your relationship.
10. What are your short-term financial goals?
It’s important to have goals when it comes to your finances. You should always have a plan for your money. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself wondering where your money has gone.
Short-term financial goals are things that you want to achieve within the next 2 years. It can be anything from saving for a vacation to starting an investment account. Knowing your partner’s goals shows you where they’re headed and, ultimately, what they are working towards.
Everyone’s goals are different, so it’s not about whether they have the “right” goals. It’s about understanding their aspirations and how you can support them.
11. What are your long-term financial goals?
In addition to understanding your partner’s short-term financial goals, you should also inquire about their long-term financial goals.
Again, this question isn’t to judge what their goals are. Instead, use it as an opportunity to gauge if they have a plan of action to achieve their goals. Also, consider how your relationship fits into these plans.
12. What do you tend to splurge on?
We all have something that we tend to splurge on. Whether that’s food, clothes, or even designer handbags, there’s something that we’re willing to spend more money on. Find out what that item is for your partner.
Although most splurges are harmless, some things can pose a financial risk. For instance, if your partner is addicted to shopping or even gambling, it can have long-term consequences. So it’s important to understand what they splurge on and if it is something that you’re comfortable with.
13. How do you handle financial emergencies?
At some point, we’ll all experience a financial emergency. The important thing is how we handle them.
The best way to prepare for any financial emergency is to have an emergency fund. This is a savings account dedicated to paying for emergency situations, like an unexpected car repair.
You’ll want to know if your partner is financially prepared for emergencies. Do they have money saved to cover these expenses or do they rely on credit cards instead? This is one of the most important questions about money you can ask because you both need to be prepared for unexpected events!
14. Are you currently saving for anything?
Another great money question to ask your partner is if they are currently saving for anything. Saving for large purchases shows their commitment to working towards a goal. It also shows that they’re willing to have delayed gratification.
If they aren’t currently saving for anything, ask if they typically save up for large purchases. You may find that they are in a financial position to cash flow everything. Or, you could find that they leverage credit cards or loans to fund expenses that they can’t afford.
15. Is giving a part of your budget?
You can tell a lot about what a person values by how they spend their money. If someone values helping others, then giving will likely be an integral part of their spending. That’s not to say that money is the only way to give back; however, if you have the financial means, you’ll give.
Communicate effectively with these important money questions!
These questions about money are intended to provide insight into their views of money. It’s important to know how they think and feel so that you can determine if it aligns with your own beliefs. Knowing the answers can also help you feel more secure in your relationship.
Just because you don’t agree with everything that your partner reveals doesn’t mean that your relationship won’t work. It simply means that you’ll have to find common ground, so that money issues don’t divide your relationship.
If either of you is unwilling to compromise on these habits, you may find that you’re financially incompatible. Either way, knowing allows you to make an informed decision about how you’ll proceed in your relationship.
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