While being young, broke and beautiful is all well and good, some people’s finances are more jacked than others. That’s why we’ve invited Betsy Crouch (aka Coach $izzle) to come onboard and dole out some much needed advice. She is a professional financial coach after all. If you’ve got a question you’d like answered please email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe your question will be the next one answered.
“Coach Sizzle, my boyfriend just proposed to me and I said yes, yay! I have not shared with him the full extent of my financial situation, I’m feeling weird about it and I don’t know how to handle it. What should I do?” – MM
One hundred times out of a hundred I am going to suggest being honest with your partner. I have not always been completely honest in relationships and I know the damage it causes.
So, there are some things you want to share with your partner. You are concerned about his reaction and you want to have an authentic relationship. Here is where I would start:
1. Share the end goal: Hey Bob, I love you and I am excited to build our life together. I want us to be in a financially strong position in the future for (x,y,z reasons, family, education, retirement, travel, other, etc.). I want to share with each other our finances so that we can help each other and work together. What do you think? When would be a good time?
He could also have some things that you haven’t heard about and so he could feel relieved to hear that you want to get it all out in the open. If there is something that is huge that you have “breezed over” or straight up lied about then it’s important to have the conversation sooner than later. When you get it out in the open you can handle it together and grow through it. The longer you keep it hidden, the harder it is and the more painful it is when you share the information. After you share your current positions and goals then you can actively work on creating something together, versus just “seeing what happens.”
2. Review your finances: What information is important to share?
* Credit report and score – for a report go to www.myfico.com. You can also get a free report at annualcreditreport.com but this will not include a score. Search for MyFico discount codes before placing your order. You want to know what you are getting yourself into, you don’t wanna be like Puck, getting dumped by Santana (GLEE) for having a low credit score. If your credit score is low, this does not mean that you are not a good person, it just means that you made some mistakes or had some hard times. We are all human. The key is how you handle it. Your actions to improve your score will speak volumes.
* Statement of Financial Position - Make a list of everything you have and everything you owe. Include all checking, savings, and investment accounts as well as all debts and loans, including personal loans. Make sure that you find out and include all interest rates on all loans including credit card balances. If you are feeling bad about your financial position, then this exercise will feel bad I won’t sugar coat it. However, likely you will feel a sense of relief knowing that you are looking at it and working to improve it.
* Salary – How much you make babay?! Yes, share your salary or wage. This important information to have for planning purposes as well as deciding how you are going to split your bills. Is splitting 50/50 fair?
* Priorities – Knowing your true priorities will help you align your spending and savings with them. In order to create shared priorities, knowing your individual priorities is necessary. Know your financial priorities.
Covering these steps will give you a great foundation for setting goals and clarifying your financial dreams. Let’s put it this way, if you don’t share this now it will fester and bother you. Why not get it off your chest so you can put your energy towards other things! Worried this will end the relationship? Well, if you wait it could be worse. Also, if he had these feelings would you want him to share them with you? Good luck M and “Bob”!