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I personally think every couple should be in an open relationship.
But this open relationship is definitely not the one that commonly comes to mind when you hear about it.
Nope, this has nothing to do with spicing up ones sex life (and no judgement here if this does indeed float your boat).
This open relationship is even far more intimate than than the ones just based on the physical.
The open relationship I am talking about is being able to communicate openly about one’s finances.
The Financial Taboo.
It seems like discussing money and/or income is a taboo subject.
How many married people shared personal financial details prior to tying the knot?
Did you share how much you were making? The amount of personal debt you had? Your credit score?
Granted sharing or asking for this information may be inappropriate for a first date but if the relationship becomes serious enough to talk about marriage, I think this topic is certainly fair game.
I am certainly not saying drop your partner to the curb if he or she does indeed have a bad credit score.
But if you do find out that your potential mate has a tarnished credit score, I think it can be a starting point for some very important financial discussions that should include:
- The circumstances surrounding the derogatory credit report(s).
- What he or she is currently doing to improve their credit score.
- What he or she envisions financially 5, 10, or 15 years down the road.
Only then can you and your partner truly find out if you share similar financial goals/philosophies.
The importance of being on the same page.
One of the main reasons why discussing each individual’s personal finance situation is so important is because it allows you to go into a marriage knowing if you are on the same page or not.
If one person is a spendthrift and the other is frugal, there can be serious conflicts down the road.
I like to tell people that, “A colander will remain empty no matter how much water you pour into it.”
If one half of the relationship epitomizes the YOLO attitude of the grasshopper in Aesop’s fable, with no regards to retirement years down the road, and the other half assumes the ant, something is bound to give.
I consider myself quite frugal.
My ex wife was not.
Whenever I go out to purchase things I have no qualms about using coupons to get a discount.
Apparently the use of coupons was beneath my ex wife as she thought it brought financial shame to a “physician household.”
According to her financial philosophy, handing the cashier a coupon implies that you are a lesser person who cannot afford to pay full price and needs aid wherever you can get it.
Can a marriage end just because of different viewpoints on coupon usage?
Of course not.
Mine certainly didn’t.
There were far more sinister things going on that led to the demise of my marriage.
But little things add up and you never know what little financial idiosyncrasy will finally push things past the tipping point.
Your financial discussions do not end with saying I do.
Say you hit the lottery and find the perfect partner.
He or she checks off everything on your financial musts list.
You both envision similar short-term and long-term financial goals.
Unfortunately this does not absolve you from not keeping the financial communication lines open once you get to the alter.
It is therefore vital that you continue to keep ongoing financial discussions with your partner throughout your combined life journey.
The importance of both partners being involved financially.
Finance is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.
It is very easy for one person to defer all financial decisions to the other in a relationship, especially when that other person is the one who has a proclivity towards all things finance.
The biggest downside of this type of arrangement occurs when something happens to the person who was assigned to handling all the household finances.
If he or she becomes incapacitated, there could be an incredibly difficult transition period for the surviving spouse who now has this responsibility thrust upon them during an already emotionally charged time.
It is hard enough to make important decisions even with a clear head.
Now imagine being forced to this while going through an emotional rollercoaster that comes with a loss of a loved one and mistakes are bound to be made.
The gravity of this situation is magnified even more with DIY investing households.
Although a financial planner certainly adds additional cost but that cost could be justified if the planner prevents a financially catastrophic decision from being made by the ill-equipped survivor.
Having a financial planner already involved with the household finances may be the easiest way to smooth the transition to the previous non-financially responsible surviving spouse.
A date with (financial) destiny.
I really like the concept of a financial date night with your significant other.
Whether it be monthly or quarterly, it allows both of you to come together and get a status update of the household finances.
This would also be a great opportunity for the “chief financial officer,” if there is one, to spread some knowledge on why certain investments were chosen and share other financial tidbits that would help his or her partner out.
Pen to paper.
Let’s face it, even when information is shared it goes in one ear and out the other, especially if the recipient finds the topic already uninteresting.
The Physician Philosopher introduced me to another great concept, create an open letter to your spouse.
Writing a letter from the perspective of being dead is hard to do, but I think this has such a beneficial impact to the reader that it truly is a worthwhile endeavor.
Not only does it show how much you care that you are willing to communicate from the afterlife, but it also gives a concrete blueprint for the survivor to follow so that the wealth you worked so hard for is preserved long after you are gone.
ICE ICE Baby.
If you are a more matter-of-fact type individual and a tear-jerking letter from beyond is just not in the cards, then an In Case Of Emergency Binder may be just what you are looking for.
This is a convenient way to store all the important information that you would like to pass on to your heirs in one place.
BONUS: New Years sale for the Family Emergency Binder from January 1st through January 15th. It will be a 25% discount (making the binder $29.25 when it is usually $39.)
There is no need for a coupon code, the discount will be automatically applied.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN