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How To Understand Your Partner's Money Mindset

Listen to this series via our Date Smart podcast. Episodes are released weekly!

Statistics show the #1 cause of breakups and divorce is money. However, most arguments around money have less to do with the numbers themselves, and more to do with the psychology behind money, that is your different styles of viewing and managing money, and your expectations for the kind of life you both want. In other words, the biggest reason behind money fights isn’t the money itself, but the mismatch of the couple's money mindset! How was your partner raised to think about money? What’s important to your partner when it comes to money? What are his or her motivations and fears? These questions address the root cause, not the symptoms. 

The Gottmans say, “Whether your bank account is robust or you’re living paycheck to paycheck, money is one of the top five reasons couples fight. Research on a sample of 4,574 couples shows that, of all the issues married couples fight about, financial arguments were the single best predictor of divorce.” They also found that what matters most is not the number in your bank account but how a couple talks about their financial disagreements. 

A CitiBank study showed that 57% of divorced couples cite money problems as the primary reason for divorce and 40% of couples don’t even talk about money before marriage or moving in together! For example, the cost of raising a child from 0 to 18 years old is a quarter of a million dollars. Shouldn’t couples talk about this “expense” before they tie the knot? Or if one partner has $150,000 in student loan debt, shouldn’t they disclose that detail before walking down the aisle?

I would go as far as to say that your money mindset is MORE important than your salary or net worth. For example, I know high-net-worth individuals who are stressed and financially fearful. They grew up poor and now hoard their money out of an unrealistic fear of returning to their inferior quality of life. Along that same vein, many women judge men based on their career, income, or net worth, but they don’t look at their earning potential and how they think and feel about money, and vice versa. If you meet a guy who currently makes a $500,000 salary but has a scarcity mindset, he might be hoarding that money into a bank account never to see the light of day, or worse, he might spend it all on a gambling problem only to revert to his poverty lifestyle to which he is accustomed. On the flip side, if you meet a guy who is at the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey and he has an abundant money mindset, if he currently makes a $50,000 salary, you can be assured that number will go up, with healthy money habits to boot. To quote a passage from the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, poor women normally seek out poor men because it’s comfortable, aka there is a match in their money mindset, and poor men normally seek out women who like to spend money because they will spend all of their money, thus returning them to their comfortable state of poor living. 

Whether you’re dating or in a committed relationship, understanding your partner’s money mindset is one of the most important skills you’ll learn. However, money isn’t just financial, it’s emotional, as I recently found out in a conversation with my partner Diego when I broke down in tears talking about an Airbnb rental (more on that later). Getting emotional is good — it means you’re getting to the root of the issue, the good stuff, or in the mind of a podcast host, “good tape.” (All I could think while I was crying was, why aren’t I recording this?!”) But not every conversation needs to end in tears. While showing the numbers in your bank account is like standing in front of your partner with your pants down (don’t worry, we’ll get to that), understanding his or her money psychology can be a fun, engaging, and rewarding conversation. 

One of my all-time favorite conversations with Diego was talking about his childhood and family history with money. It all started with the question, “How did your parents talk about money?” I learned so much about his background, culture, family, and mindset just from asking a few simple questions. It explained why he thinks and behaves the way he does, and lessened my frustration around money topics we disagreed on (and his). For example, to him, money meant security and necessity. His parents never splurged on luxury, rather, they were very practical with their spending. This is why we always disagreed when I wanted to splurge on a luxury Airbnb when we traveled. His mind would go directly to all of the more practical things we could spend that money on.

And now that Diego and I are planning our wedding, even more conversations are coming to the surface. I wish we would have begun talking about money much earlier in our five-year relationship, but hey, better late than never. Being in a situation where we're about to get married places our money beliefs under a microscope. We're running into walls and having disagreements over the cost of our wedding venue and how much to spend on vacation rentals when we travel… basically what I value and think is worth spending money on vs what he values and thinks is worth spending money on, aka our money beliefs and values. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to keep having these same disagreements well into our 40s and 50s. I want to figure this out now so we can, you know, enjoy our lives. 

Through trial and error, I have learned that it is best to go slow and steady. For anyone that knows me, you know slow isn’t my forte. I rather dive into the deep end and drown in books, podcasts, and anything my eyes or ears can consume while dragging all of my friends into the vortex with me. But this is not the way to entice your partner. It’s best to naturally start sharing what you’re learning, for example, “Hey, listen to what I just learned in this book!” Not all partners will be as receptive so you have to gauge your partner's level of interest or resistance. Be understanding that there may be a lot of resistance especially if he or she has a complicated money history. I had a friend that broke out in hives every time I said the “M” word later to find out the IRS took her passport away for owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, so remember, everyone has a story. I also learned it's best to bring up other couples' situations and talk about them, rather than focusing on your situation right out of the gate. For example, I was listening to Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast where he was counseling a couple that sounded exactly like Diego and me. I told him about the entire podcast episode over lunch one day, and he was WAY more interested in talking about another couple's story vs our own. There was no pressure. 

Once you feel like you’re both more comfortable talking about money, you can start asking your partner questions about his or her upbringing with money. (And if you’re on your dating journey, you can begin asking these types of questions after three or four dates.) Another approach would be to learn together: Read books, listen to podcasts, and do courses together. This is exactly what Alan & Katie Donegan started doing at the beginning of their relationship.

Interview with Rebel Finance School Founders Alan & Katie Donegan

Alan (00:00):

This is one of the biggest learnings I'd love to give to your audience: do courses together, do books together, learn together, find someone to do it with. I used to go off and do courses on my own. I'd get really excited. I'd do a three or four day course. I'd come back and tell Katie about it. And of course, how am I meant to describe in 20 minutes what's happened over four days and I botched the content I'd tell Katie and she'd go, that's interesting.

Taylor (00:27):

Right? <laugh>

Alan (00:28):

And then I'd have this sad moment and it just didn't work. And we were growing in opposite directions and it was pulling us apart. And then at some stage we realized do the courses together, learn together.

Taylor (00:42):

I feel like it's the only way. I had a similar experience just with this one book that we began reading together because I was reading it on my own and then trying to relay the information to Diego and just feeling deflated because he would just look at me with the same reaction, "That’s cool, honey. Thanks for sharing.”

Alan (01:01):

And you're like, No it's life-changing. We need to do this. Why are you not excited like I am?

Katie (01:06):

Are you then trying to have these discussions in Spanish, which is not your native language?

Taylor (01:10):

At this point, my Spanish is better than his English so it just makes sense to have these conversations in Spanish. I think we're going to reread it now though because we read it last year and I feel like we are running into the same walls that we ran into last year.

Alan (01:29):

Interesting.

Taylor (01:30):

Or last year we didn't realize how big of an issue they were. But now we do because we're getting married. I think that's the bigger issue.

Alan (01:38):

At least you're talking about this before you get married rather than most people who do it 20 years into being married and it falls apart. I know some people who don't even know their partner’s in debt when they're getting married.

Taylor (01:52):

I know! Okay, this is why I got emotional yesterday. My parents got divorced because of money. They never talked about it. And I'm seeing similar patterns with Diego and myself as with my dad and my mom. And I hate to say it, but I'm just really scared of falling into that same pit and that same pattern. And so I got really emotional yesterday because I don't want to follow that path. I want to create our own path and I want Diego to be there with me to do it. And I got really emotional about it.

Katie (02:22):

The fact that you're getting married, is it prompting this because of the thought that you're going to combine your finances together? What is it about the fact that you're getting married that changes anything?

Taylor (02:36):

I was the one that told him, before we get married I want to make sure that we're on the same page with everything. And that includes a lot of different things: How we view money and our money psychology and then number two, creating our life together and what kind of lifestyle we want. And then three, actually going through the numbers together, because I want you to know that I have student loan debt like everyone else in the US.

Katie (03:05):

Yeah, to go into it with eyes wide open.

Alan (03:09):

Yeah, to know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Because money is the number one reason for divorce in the US. And I think it’s a huge problem elsewhere as well. And I think maybe it's infidelity and other things as well, but sometimes money can be the cause of that and it's the outlet as opposed to the real reason. And it's really fascinating. So if we could do anything to get people to talk about money earlier, money philosophy, money ideas, your beliefs, your way of operating. I would love that. Please, please talk to your friends. Anyone!

Taylor (03:46):

At what point did you begin talking about money in your relationship?

Katie (03:52):

We did a couple of courses, didn’t we? We did The Millionaire Mind that we just mentioned. And we also did one called Billionaire Bootcamp.

Alan (03:59):

It was interesting, and it promoted what we were doing and I was building a business and I thought entrepreneurship was my route and I wanted to go that way. So we started talking more about earning money and different things. And those courses would inspire us about assets. And I read this book by Robert Kiyosaki called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which is kind of one of those seminal books people talk about. And he talks about how an asset puts money in your pocket and a liability takes money out of your pocket. And then for about two years afterwards, I was saying to Katie, where do we buy an asset? Where's the asset shop? How do I buy an asset? What is an asset? Show me the assets! I got really frustrated about, what is an asset? How do we do it? And so it's the self-development, it's the learning, it's the concepts and the ideas gradually brought it in and then we would discuss the books and what we were doing.

Katie (04:51):

I think we were both keen to build wealth as well.

Alan (04:55):

I never wanted to end up like my parents. Yeah. That was a huge motivator.

Katie (05:01):

And Alan had kind of shown me this different world where you can do anything. You don't just have to follow the standard path. And my family's very traditional, so it's go to university, get a good degree so that you can then get a good job and then work in that job and advance up the career ladder. 

Alan (05:18):

Until you're 65 and you die.

Katie (05:19):

Until you retire. Alan was like, you know, you don't have to live that way if you don't want to. And I was like, what do you mean? And so then he showed me there's all these other possibilities, which was a journey in itself. I was quite resistant to start with because I thought, "This is weird. No, you can't do that.” And then one of the things that we talked about of the possibilities was having enough money so we didn't have to work anymore. I think that came later. To start with, having enough money so that you can take a month off a year and that seemed really out there to start with. And then suddenly we learned about the fact that you could take the rest of your life or you could retire early and not have to work again. So yeah. Alan kind of opened both of our eyes to all these different ways of living.

Taylor (06:11):

Yeah. Those are two huge doors you opened. I mean, I’ve just noticed between our clients and also with my relationships, if one person is an entrepreneur and the other one isn’t, it makes a huge difference. I mean there's a huge mentality shift between entrepreneurs and people that are working in the corporate world. And the second thing, financial independence, not having to work for the rest of your life, that’s another huge concept that you introduced into the relationship. So, how did you feel whenever he brought those conversations up at first?

Katie (06:50):

You're weird.

Alan (06:53):

That’s factually correct.

Katie (06:55):

I remember Alan studied NLP: Neurolinguistic Programming. And I was just like, this is weird and so much so that he knew I came from quite a more scientific background and that things need rigor and proof and things. So he bought me a book called NLP, The Scientific Approach or something like that in an attempt to..

Alan (07:21):

…in an attempt to come over to the dark side.

Taylor (07:23):

Smart. You learned her language.

Katie (07:27):

But it was weird and foreign and different.

Alan (07:33):

And some of it is hocus pokus and some of it actually works and is really clever. And you have to decide on your own what it is. I’d gotten addicted to learning from these books. So I'd read a book and then I would instantly apply it and see whether it worked in my life and I think that's a strange concept to most people. My friends used to joke with me, take the mickey out of me, I don’t know what the American expression is…

Katie (08:04):

Tease me. That’s also a British expression.

Alan (08:07):

Thank you. They would tease me. Thank you for helping me with my linguistics. They would tease me because I would say you can learn anything from a book and they thought this was a weird concept. I'm like, well, it's not, you can read about it and then do it. And I got passionate about reading and learning and eventually, I stopped telling people that I was reading and learning because they just teased me about it. So I just did it. And I wanted Katie to learn with me. I wanted to grow together. I wanted to learn together. I wanted to do all of this together, but it was quite hard. I think Katie was skeptical of some of the stuff I was learning and the science-based “show me the proof” and both your parents are into chemistry and science and teachers and all of that stuff. And there's me going, "Here’s a self-development book with no proof, but it'll change your life. Woo!”

Taylor (08:59):

Well, that brings up a good point. How do you talk to your partner if he or she is reluctant to start learning or start thinking about these concepts?

Alan (09:11):

You wear them down over the days.

Katie (09:13):

<Laugh>

Alan (09:15):

No, that's not true. I always focused on, I want to build this incredible life with you and I want a cool life and I want all these things. So we should be setting goals and thinking about where we're going and what we're doing. And then we read one book Tim Ferris’s The Four Hour Workweek which spoke of mini-retirements. I was like, I want a mini-retirement after our wedding. That's what I want to do. And we both got excited by that.

Katie (09:49):

We had a six-month honeymoon basically.

Alan (09:51):

Yeah. We took six months off for our honeymoon, which people go, what? Six months for your honeymoon? They go for two weeks in the Seychelles and blow about the same amount of money that we spent on six months traveling the world. And we had an amazing time. It was phenomenal. And then we came back and we both had a taste of a different way of living.

Katie (10:09):

I was so grumpy going back to work after that. I was like, what is this bullshit? I completely lost my mojo for work. After doing that, I didn't go for promotions. I was like, this is that. I'm not up for this.

Alan (10:28):

And then in 2015, I read another book, which was basically about how to sort your finances out on money. And it showed us the level of investments you would need at three different levels to retire. So like the basics to cover your house and electric and bills and food, and then an upper level where you can go out once a week and do a few nice bits, but it's not living big. And then a big level. And we're like, oh, this is incredible. So we read this book, and we got absolutely fanatical about it. We told everyone and one of our friends sent us a link to Mr. Money Mustache, the financial independence world. You (Katie) devoured his blog.

Taylor (11:11):

What was the book called?

Katie (11:13):

Don’t read it. We won't tell you because we don't recommend it because it's like a thousand pages intense.

Alan (11:20):

You have to translate the thing to be able to even understand it. And there are much better books that we have now read, but it started us.

Katie (11:28):

We had to translate it because it was written for an American audience, and we had to figure out how that worked for us in the UK in terms of investing.

Alan (11:36):

If you want to read the simple version, read The Simple Path To Wealth by JL Collins. It’s a phenomenal book that lays out very simply the principles of financial independence, how much you need, and how to get there. And it's like a 300-page book that's simple and practical. This one just was too much, but it started us and you need something to ignite the flame, to know where you are going.

Katie (12:01):

Actually, that book did serve us well because it got rid of your fear of the stock market.

Alan (12:08):

I had a huge fear of investing. Huge fear.

Taylor (12:13):

Why?

Alan (12:15):

My dad, back when I was 19 or 20 years old, all of the money that I'd earned at school, through buying and selling his sportswear through selling school and college party tickets through all my entrepreneurial ventures, I'd saved up like 7,000 pounds. It was my life savings back then: 7,000 pounds. Like it was a house deposit, a big house deposit. And he persuaded me to invest the entire amount in an actively managed high-tech, high-growth fund right before the.com bubble.

Taylor (12:53):

Oh no.

Alan (12:54):

And I lost everything. It all vanished. And my house deposit evaporated. I was left with nothing from all that work. And my mom backed up the belief that the stock market was evil because of the amount of money my dad had lost in different ways through doing these crazy things. So all the way from 20 till my early-mid thirties, I was allergic to stocks in the stock market.

Taylor (13:27):

How did you get over your fear?

Alan (13:30):

I read this book that said actively managed funds are evil. And basically, an actively managed fund is where you pay a higher fee to get someone to pick stocks and shares for you because the professionals know best <laugh>. However, the data shows that you’ve got just as good a chance of success if you took the financial papers and threw darts at them and used that as your technique for picking stocks. There's like a handful of people that you can name like Warren Buffet, Ray Dalio, no one else can pick stocks and shares over the long term. It just isn't a thing. And I'm like, okay, so now I understand why I lost money when I was 21. And I understand why it went wrong. And then it showed me the way to do it in a different way, which was passive investing or index investing.

And it suggested this was the route. So that education showed me the mistake I'd made, why I was an idiot, and how to do it differently. <Laugh> And so then I was like, okay, there's this different route. Let's test that. And we tried it and we started to work and we learned more. And then Mr. Money Mustache’s blog, and then we booked to go on this course called Chatauqua, which is a financial independence retreat. It was in Ecuador at the time. So we flew to Ecuador to meet JL Collins and Mr. Money Mustache and the Mad Fientist. And we met all these people who'd retired in their thirties and it was just crazy. You can do this. Yeah. So we followed the path and Katie retired when she was 35 and I got there at 40 slightly behind her. It was actually exactly the same time. I'm just older and less efficient at earning money <laugh>.

Taylor (15:23):

And I'll list all of these books and courses in the show notes for everyone listening. I would love to learn more about how you guys actually had these conversations and what they were focused on in the very beginning. So were they focused on what's the reason for creating our wealth together or was it more just learning about how you guys view wealth and your habits or was it just straight up here's an Excel sheet and we're gonna go through the numbers? What was your process for having these conversations? I'm selfishly asking because I would love some help with Diego and myself.

Alan (16:01):

It was the books and courses.

Katie (16:04):

I think we always had a common goal. So the first one was that we wanted to have our own place together. Our own house. That was such a massive focus. I used to be an actuary and I was doing professional exams. And every time I passed an exam, I got a pay rise. And every time I got a pay rise, it meant we can borrow a bit more for a mortgage because they do like a multiple of your salary. So the more you earn, the more the banks are willing to lend you. And so that was such a big focus that let's earn more money so that we can get a place together. So that was very spreadsheet-based and like going through the actual numbers. And then we were having these conversations around it from the books and the courses that we did. I think conversation sometimes was a code word for argument because Alan was like, “This is amazing. We can do all this stuff.” And I was like, “Oh no, this is weird.”

Alan (17:10):

Katie is very risk averse. She's trying to look for what would go wrong. Not for what could go. Right. And I'm the opposite.

Taylor (17:15):

That's our dynamic. Diego and I are the exact same. That's our dynamic also.

Katie (17:22):

I assume you are Alan and Diego is me in this scenario.

Taylor (17:25):

Yeah. 

Katie (17:32):

It just took time. How did we overcome that?

Alan (17:38):

So Steven Covey wrote The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People and there is a workbook and I'm a geek for learning. So I bought us a copy each of the workbook and we did book club where we would go to a cafe for two hours and work through the book, come up with a vision for our family life, and discuss where we'd come from.

Katie (18:00):

But why was I willing to do that when I hadn't done stuff in the past?

Alan (18:05):

Because it was Doctor Steve Covey <laugh>.

Alan (18:18):

I kept asking you to read books and come on courses and do things together. And at some point, I think you said yes, and one of them inspired you. And I just had to keep asking.

Katie (18:28):

You wore me down!

Alan (18:32):

I kept things positive. We need to do this together. We need to learn together. And I think I was so desperate and we actually just started this last week, doing another course together. I don't think learning ever stops. And we are doing Tony Robbin's relationship program together.

Taylor (18:50):

I would love to hear how that goes.

Alan (18:52):

We're in it right now. One of his questions is, what is your ideal relationship? And my reflection on that is the biggest thing I want is a co-creator. And that's my language for someone that I want to build our life together. And there was an expression I heard years ago that the extraordinary belongs to those that create it. Ie: no one's gonna come around and give you an extraordinary life. They don't go around school going Taylor, would you like an extraordinary life?

Taylor (19:29):

Yes, please.

Alan (19:30):

Please pass me one over. It doesn't happen. The extraordinary belongs to those that create it. So we have to create it and I don't want to do it on my own. I want do it together. And that is one of the biggest things I want to create our future together. I want someone to build with, not against.

Alan and Katie’s relationship is built on the foundation of personal growth. They continually read books and do courses together, and this is what helped shape and form their understanding of one another and their relationship. For them, learning never stops. This life philosophy combined with pure grit is what allowed them to reach financial independence, retire at ages 35 and 40, and live by their own meaning of what constitutes a fulfilling life. They did it together, and it all started by understanding each other’s money mindset. It didn’t happen overnight, and in the next episode you’ll find out just how long it took them to get on the same page. 

Spoiler alert: it took years. I tell you not to discourage you, but to encourage you not to quit. Sure, some couples may have a smoother process than others. But we have to keep in mind that relationships are the combining of two human beings, each with their own set of imperfections, unique histories and traumas, and worldviews and habits. It will take time to merge each partner’s unique past with the other’s.

Furthermore, it is very common for each partner to have opposite money habits. Many people talk about “money types” such as the saver vs the spender. Some believe that “savers” are attracted to “spenders” because they are exciting and know how to live life to the fullest, while “spenders” are attracted to “savers” because they can be very grounding. I don’t love labeling people and putting them into boxes. However, I do believe that we are predisposed to certain behaviors depending on our personality and history with money, and it might be helpful to have an idea of your and your partner’s predispositions in order to see what adjustments need to be made. The good news is that people can change their ‘money type’ or behavior at any time. 

A few more things to keep in mind — you should have these conversations when you’re both in a good mood, not after a long, stressful day at work. I’ve noticed the best times for us are either in the mornings over pancakes and Yerba Mate or over lunch. Go slow. Keep the conversations light and short to start, and try to always end on a positive note. Your attitude is extremely important during your first conversations. Show sincere curiosity and avoid judgment or blame. It always helps to be vulnerable in your finances and ways of being. The first conversation will be very broad, exploring your mindsets, beliefs, and stories around money. 

When our lives revolve around money, whether we realize it or not, it is crucial to have these conversations in the beginning stages of dating. Don’t worry, I’m not encouraging you to ask for someone's net worth five minutes into a date, but I will encourage you to enquire into their mindset around money after a handful of dates. 

So now it’s time for you to begin having these conversations. Click here to view a full list of questions and exercises to uncover your date or partner's money mindset, or see below. The right questions can reveal everything you need to know about your date’s money mindset and can even be fun. Asking these questions is one of the most important compatibility checks you can do in the early stages of a partnership. You'll also find a more robust list of questions for the seriously committed, including discovering your partner’s money psychology, creating a shared vision for your life, and lastly, going through the actual numbers.

That’s it for today, my dear friends. Remember: The goal is to be patient, support one another, and create inspiring financial dreams together. Allow yourself a lot of time and space to process emotions following your discussions. I have to be honest, even though we had our “money blueprint” conversation all in one go, it took us close to 3 months to get through the “lifestyle and creating a shared vision” section (and we’re still refining our vision months later). It took a lot of thought, revision, and processing of each other’s responses to actually get on the same page. So, take your time and approach every conversation with an open and curious mind. 

TOP 10 QUESTIONS TO UNCOVER YOUR DATE’S MONEY MINDSET.

  • Did your family openly talk about money when you were growing up or was it more of a taboo topic?
  • How did your family talk about money?
  • What do you value in life (e.g. travel, food, etc) and why? (How do you decide what to spend money on and what’s not worth it?)
  • What does your current/future lifestyle look like?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you expect?
  • What do you want your daily life to look like?
  • Where do you want to live? (Which country?)
  • What kind of environment do you want to live in? Ie: Beach, mountains, small town, big city, etc.
  • If you woke up with $5 million what would you change about your life?
  • If you didn’t have to work (and money wasn’t an issue), how would you spend your time?

MONEY BLUEPRINT.

  • Tell me about your relationship with money growing up.
  • How did your parents talk about money? How did they manage it?
  • How are you identical or opposite to either of your parent's money habits and ways of being?
  • How has this affected your financial life? 
  • What invisible scripts do you have about money? 
  • How do you treat money? 
  • How does money make you feel? 
  • What does having money mean to you? 
  • Do you need a certain amount in your bank account to feel safe?
  • Are you risk-averse?
  • How do you decide what to spend money on and what’s not worth it? 
  • What are your biggest financial fears and dreams?

LIFESTYLE/ CREATING A SHARED VISION.

Each partner should write a “vision statement” (separately, not together).

  • From a financial perspective, what do you want? 
  • What kind of lifestyle do you expect? 
  • Why do you want to grow your money?
  • Do you want to live a “rich life” or aggressively save for retirement?
  • What does your current/future lifestyle look like? Which country will you live in?
  • Will you retire early by building a lifestyle focused on saving and delayed gratification?
  • What house will you buy and how much of your income will you dedicate to a mortgage?
  • Is your car for self-image, or is it just transportation?
  • Do you like to camp on vacation or stay in 5-star hotels?
  • What is your vision for our family? 5, 10 years?
  • What do you want your daily life to look like?
  • Where do you want to live? What kind of environment? Beach, mountains, small town, big city.
  • Do you want to have kids? How many? How will we raise them? Eg. Public vs private school, religion, location, etc.
  • If you woke up with 5M what would you change about your life? 
  • If you didn’t have to work (and money wasn’t an issue), how would you spend your time?
  • What financial decisions do you not agree on as a couple?
  • How important is it to you on a scale of 1-10?
  • Individually, or as a couple, what does a rich life look like to you? Why?
  • On separate pieces of paper, write down your bucket list for the next 10 years.

Bonus activity: It might be helpful to create a list of attitudes and actions you both agree to live by. Whenever you have a disagreement, remind each other of the list you created when you were both objective, unemotional, and outside your money blueprints.

NUMBERS.

This section includes practical questions to analyze how you are saving and spending your money. Each partner should first track their numbers, and then use the data to analyze their habits. This is a very eye-opening exercise. 

  • Bucket your spending into only 5-7 categories so it’s not overwhelming. Gas = auto expense, etc.
  • How much money do you make? A list of accounts and the amount in each.
  • How much money have you saved?
  • How much debt do you have? Include interest rates, monthly payments, and payoff dates.
  • What are your monthly expenses/spending? (Show yours first, then ask “What do you think I could be doing better?)
  • What are your long and short-term financial goals?
  • What are our joint financial goals? 

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Listen to this series via the Date Smart podcast. Episodes are released weekly!

The Date Smart podcast is hosted by Ambiance Matchmaking’s cofounder Taylor Wade. Twenty years ago, Taylor cofounded Ambiance Matchmaking, an exclusive matchmaking agency that has helped over 100,000 singles master their dating lives. In this podcast, she shares the same tactics and techniques with you. Mastering your dating life is easier than you think –– it’s just a matter of science and a little know-how.

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Taylor Wade

Taylor is one of the founders of Ambiance Matchmaking. She now dedicates her time to curating content for our community through her podcast and blog. Writing and podcasting is the art of great story-telling. As a relationship writer and editor, she has always sought to capture the reality of the dating experience, full of drama, friction, and joy. The best mind is an open mind, so she specializes in asking questions and approaching a story without preconceptions.

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