3. Get imaginative
Conversation about credit scores may not be the stuff of a great first date. However, hypothetical what-ifs are a less pointed way to get to know each other while finding out if you’re financially compatible. Asking questions — What would you do if you won a million dollars? — or talking about your last big purchase or upcoming vacation plans can provide insight into financial decision-making without putting a potential partner on the spot during a first date, notes Bonnie Winston, a Manhattan-based matchmaker and dating expert.
4. Notice differences; don’t try to change them
A study by financial planning firm Ameriprise found 73% of individuals have money management styles that are different than their partner. According to experts, the trick is being able to communicate about spending decisions. So is your relationship doomed if you budget to the cent while your partner regularly overdraws? Not necessarily — but it may be smart to come together and come up with ground rules surrounding how you will manage shared expenses and future financial goals. Some couples find the best way to handle disparate spending habits is to set up yours, mine and ours accounts — where expenses, goals and savings are pulled from the “ours” account, and each member of the couple can use their individual money as they please, says Wyatt Fisher, PhD, a relationship psychologist in Boulder, CO.
Talking about your pasts can also help both of you understand your relationship with money. “Sharing how your family interacted with money can help your partner understand your current functioning with money today,” notes Fisher. If you feel both of you are butting heads about finances, or feel your backgrounds are far too different to find common ground — setting up a couple’s appointment with a financial counselor can be a good way to facilitate a discussion surrounding finances.
5. Be upfront — and avoid snooping
If you are concerned about their spending behavior or if a red flag comes up in one of your conversations, be upfront about it. “I would advise against going behind a partner’s back to investigate a partner’s credit history,” says Winston. “I also think it’s key to be honest about your own history. Omitting information may be perceived as lying.”
Bottom line: Conversations about credit can bring couples closer if you’re honest and willing to work together on financial goals for the future.
Anna Davies has written for The New York Times, Glamour, Marie Claire, Men's Health, Women's Health and Refinery29.
The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article.