Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?

Find Out Whether You're Ready to Merge Finances With Your Significant Other

Updated February 14, 2017

5. Do you think your significant other is responsible with money?

Getty Images

Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?

You got: You're a financial match made in heaven!

I got You're a financial match made in heaven!. Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?
Getty Images

You’ve got the chemistry and you’ve done the math. You know all (or most) of the right numbers: credit scores, incomes, assets and possible debts. More importantly, you’re comfortable talking dollars and cents — and you’re open to sharing not just financial responsibilities, but also goals. Merge away!

But before you do, run the numbers one more time. If you're sharing expenses, and one of you makes significantly more than the other,  talk about whether you should divide them based on a percentage of your respective incomes opposed to equal dollar amounts. Also, consider tactics: Will you merge your incomes in a single account, maintain separate accounts, or use a yours-mine-and-ours system? If you’re going all-in, know how your money will be divided in the event of a split. And if you’re going with a yours-mine-and-ours system, know much money will be separate versus joint.

Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?

You got: Keep going. You’re almost there.

I got Keep going. You’re almost there.. Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?
Getty Images

You’ve loosely discussed the numbers, you split the majority of expenses as it is and you’re pretty sure both of you are responsible with money. But if you don’t know the exact figures, or don’t have regular discussions about your money philosophies and goals, then these are your priorities before merging finances. Research shows that couples — and not just married ones — fight more about money than anything else. So when it comes to your respective personal finances, transparency is key. Every week, make it a point to have a money talk ( yes, wine can be involved). Get to know each other’s exact numbers (credit scores, income, assets, and debts), as well as your goals and money philosophies. If you feel like you’re ready to test the waters, but not completely dive in, then try working towards a shared financial goal together. 

Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?

You got: Pump the breaks. Proceed with caution.

I got Pump the breaks. Proceed with caution.. Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?
Getty Images

When money is on the table, both literally and figuratively, the exchange feels uncomfortable or one-sided. Maybe one of you wants to talk about it, but the other resists? Or one of you pays significantly more for things than the other and/or refuses to let the other contribute? There aren’t checks and balances — and there’s little to no transparency. If you do see a financial future together, then it’s time to address the discomfort.

Your first goal is to get comfortable discussing money. And until that happens, it might be a good idea to take a step back and keep everything separate. Sitting down together with a financial planner who can help you come up with a tactical plan to follow is a good next move.

Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?

You got: Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect anything.

I got Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect anything.. Love and Money: Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible?
Getty Images

Your partner refuses to give you any information about his or her finances, he or she avoids talking about money at all costs, and has made it clear that it’s probably not going to change. Consider all of these financial red flags and consider it best to keep your money separate. If this is a relationship you think will be long-lasting, it will eventually become important to understand why this is the case. Meeting with a compassionate financial planner or couple's therapist is one way to get your feelings out on the table. Or, if you'd like to raise the issue yourself, start by asking questions like, “How did you grow up with money?” and “How were your parents with money?” Give a little to get a little, too. Try leading with your experiences first.