In love, it’s often said that opposites attract.
One of the quickest ways to observe this in action is to ask a couple to talk about money. Especially their money.
As a financial planner, I see this as a good thing. Big spenders benefit from being reined in by their partners. And super-savers benefit from learning that money can be enjoyed, not just stockpiled.
To be compatible, you don’t need to have the same financial skill set as your significant other. But you do need to be able to talk about money with each other. And that begins as soon as (or before) you get engaged.
Figuring out how and when to broach the subject isn’t easy. Unsurprisingly, the question of money and marriage came up during a Facebook Live I recently hosted for Business Insider.
As I said during the Facebook Live, you need to know everything about your partner’s money before you tie the knot.
Once you get married, you’re going to merge your finances — whether literally or figuratively — and it helps if both of you enter into your financial relationship with eyes wide open.
It’s not that it changes whether or not you’re going to get married. It doesn’t change how much you love each other. But it’s really important to establish a deeper level of financial communication before you officially start your life together.
Talking openly about money builds trust, which is an essential part of any lasting marriage. Trusting each other with finances leads to greater feelings of security, fewer arguments and — added bonus — a more fulfilling sex life, according to a survey from MONEY magazine.
If you can learn to talk about money, which is difficult for many couples, you’ll be better at talking about other challenging topics in your relationship. Talking about money helps establish a good foundation for communicating with each other.
Don’t be afraid to seek out a neutral third party for help if it proves stressful to manage these discussions on your own. You can meet with a financial planner to help facilitate the conversation, especially if one of you has any kind of embarrassment or shame around a certain financial topic, such as student loan debt.
Regardless of how opposite you might be on the financial front, there is good news: Money is important, but it’s not the key to marital bliss.
Watch the full Facebook Live: