You’ve been dating for three months and you see a future for the relationship. But is there a financial future? In these tough economic times it’ll be foolish not to know where he (and you) stands when it comes to handling money. Here are four questions you need to ask him about his finances; preferably not in one sitting.
Q1: ‘Do you have a budget?’
Having a budget means he knows how to plan for the future. It also means there’s less chance of him borrowing money from you near the end of the month when his bank account runs dry, and an even less chance of you becoming resentful and irritated for always having to fork out extra cash around the 29th of every month. Ease him into the conversation by talking about your budget first.
‘Let your partner know that you don’t find it easy to talk about money, but that it needs to be done,’ says psychologist Bhamini Rugnathji. ‘You don’t have to talk about your salary or how much you earn, just that you have a realistic budget that works for you. Once you have talked about your budget, ask him about his.’
Q2: ‘Would you lend me R400? I need to have my hair done.’
It needn’t necessarily be for your hair – it could be for a birthday gift or new tyres or even a dentist’s bill – but you’re basically asking him to lend you money. The amount you’d want to borrow should be between 5% and 10% of his monthly income.
‘His response will give you an indication of his trust in you and also his degree of stinginess,’ says Fanie Pretorius, a Pretoria-based life coach. ‘A stingy or overspending partner is a curse to a good relationship.’
Once you get his answer, don’t actually take his money. The response is what you need to focus on, not the cash.
Q3: ‘I just got my credit card bill and can’t believe how much I’ve spent! When was the last time you went on a crazy spending spree?’
According to Johannesburg-based psychologist, Leatia Stemmet, it’s important to find out how he spends his money. ‘Is he a haphazard, emotional or impulsive spender and are your materialistic and associated lifestyle requirements compatible?’
It may feel great to spend, spend, spend, but if he can’t control his spending splurges it may lead to future financial conflicts, says Stemmet.
Q4: Have you planned for the future?
A sound savings plan is highly recommended by many financial planners, especially during a recession. It’s important to know if he has or is saving for the future, says Stemmet.
Saving isn’t only limited to cash in a bank account, though. It also includes safety-net considerations such as investments, household and car insurance and medical aid.
Think carefully about getting more involved with someone who hasn’t planned ahead, your financial future depends on it.