June is the biggest month of the year for weddings, and with that in mind we take a look at the many ways couples can assess their compatibility, including their approach to finances and especially shared finances.
This week’s article offers a simple quiz to assess your compatibility from a financial perspective.
Of course, there are so many reasons that two people initially form a relationship: attraction, including similar values, honest communication, real friendship, shared visions, respect for each others feelings, mature perspectives on day to day living (yes, this is so important when someone leaves dirty socks lying around).
Other reasons are the courage to commit, an understanding that things may not be good all of the time, and a willingness to take on challenges and assume equal responsibilities for each other.
In the long run, some of the enduring characteristics that transform a personal relationship into a lifetime committed contract are not so different than those within your family group — that is if the family is a compatible bunch.
A couple’s relationship is enhanced by their shared visions, aspirations of a better life, dreams of establishing a home, securing a financially successful future, and the support and social progression of each other through life.
In the beginning it is simply about being loving and being loved in return. However, respect for one another and each other’s values, ethics, and moral code is equally important.
Does one plus one equal true love? Can another word for respect for each other mean financial compatibility? How do you handle financial matters now? Do you know anything about how your dearly beloved handles finances? Have you ever really discussed how you feel about money?
Take the relationship compatibility quiz
If you are contemplating making your relationship legal or just plain long-term together, why not take this little compatibility test?
The questions in this quiz can only be answered yes or no. More than 15 “yes” answers may mean that you have found your financial soulmate. However, low scores could mean learning the art of compromise, or perhaps realising that there is no compatibility.
1. Does my partner initiate talking about money with me?
2. Money equals power for some individuals. Does my significant other treat service people respectfully, including those who earn significantly less than they do, such as waiting staff?
3. Have we decided who will handle the bills?
4. Does my partner spend money only on things that appreciate?
5. Would I feel comfortable if my significant other made a purchase of $2,000 without telling me?
6. Does my significant other only spend what is on the grocery list?
7. Do I know what assets, savings, investments, property, etc, as well as debt, my significant other is bringing into our marriage?
8. Do they pay off credit cards each month?
9. Do I know how much my significant other makes?
10. Do I know what they save?
11. Do they initiate talking about money with me?
12. Do we have the same financial dreams?
13. Am I comfortable with my partner keeping their money separate as if it is their own for ever?
14. Do I know how my significant other would feel if I just decided to quit my job because I needed a break. What about if I wanted to start a business?
15. Do we agree on how much income we need to live comfortably?
16. When we talk about money, does my significant other understand and listen to my point of view?
17. Do I think that they are a generous person, both in time and money?
18. I have a tendency to spend on impulse; would my partner be understanding of this issue and try to encourage me to use self-control?
19. I make more than my partner does; do they have a healthy sense of self so that they are not bothered by the pay disparity?
20. Have we talked to a financial professional about starting off on the right foot? Do we need to?
There you have it. Now add up how many times you answered yes.
Seven or less yes answers: you need to initiate some serious discussions to promote a better understanding of each other’s perspectives on money, and what you want out of life.
Between eight and 14 yes answers: you seem to understand each other, but you need to work on the areas where you don’t agree.
Fifteen or more yes answers: Well, I guess it was love and compatibility at first sight. You are well on your way and should be putting a joint investing plan in place that will grow along with your relationship for the rest of your lives together.
Is it better to know what is ahead, or is it better to dream of what can be and put a financial plan in place to make it happen?
Share with me your thoughts — always anonymously, of course. Let me know how your relationship with your significant other, in terms of handling your finances, is working out.
• Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. Contact: email@example.com