Couple laughing in bed

Being in love is a blast. It’s like having a built‐in BFF by your side for life’s adventures, big and small. Whether you and your significant other are happily dating, soon‐to‐be wed, enjoying that post‐marital honeymoon bliss or forever committed to each other, it’s exciting to think about all the memories you’ll create and the life you’ll build together. But no matter where you are now and what you envision for the future, one thing is for sure: Money will matter at some point or another. So establishing an open and honest rapport on the subject is essential to making financial decisions as a team.

 

Chit‐chatting about checking accounts and brokerage balances may not be your favorite topic of conversation or something you’ve ever really considered discussing. If so, you aren’t alone: Only 35% of those in relationships don’t consider it to be “financially open.” As your ally for all things life and money, we’re here to help you break the ice and spark up some essential financial convos — in a fun, relaxed and open way.

Alt text: The money talk. Healthy relationships take work, patience, love and open communication about finances. For Better, for worse. 90% of those surveyed say it is important to be open about finances… …but nearly 1/2 aren’t doing it effectively. For richer, for poorer, Those who wish they had the money talk prior to committing to their partner say they wish they knew more about… spending habits (nearly 2/3), debt (more than 1/3). In good times and in bad. Financially open couples feel more… confident (30%), organized (38%), motivated (34%) …. compared to couples who are not. From this day forward. There’s never been a more opportune tome to have the money talk. With nearly half of all 2020 weddings postponed due to the pandemic, more couples than usual are on the verge of starting their lives together. Source: Ally Survey.

How to Play:

We’ve curated a series of three date nights with the perfect prompts to get you and your partner in the mood … to talk through your financial goals and beliefs. Whether you decide to knock em’ out in one mega‐date or split them up over time, these flexible and fun challenges can work with any schedule you and yours have in mind. Getting on the same page financially can open up a future of increased confidence, motivation, organization and happiness.

So forget the flip‐flopping over what to do for your next date. Order in your favorites, throw on some tunes and grab your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé or spouse and a bottle of red (or white, if that’s more your style). It’s time to kick off your financially open future with these date night adventures.

Date 1: Would you Rather

Skip the board game and put that deck of cards back on the shelf. This game night is all about getting to know each other’s lifestyle aspirations and money goals with a financially feisty round of “Would You Rather?”

  1. Find a cozy spot on the couch with your bae and your favorite nighttime beverage.
  2. Get ready to take the quiz – each of you will need your own device.
  3. As you reveal your rathers, you can up the ante by trying to predict each other’s preferences (but don’t compromise just yet, each of your selections should reflect your personal styles and goals).
  4. After you’ve filled out each response, talk through your answers. You may be surprised what you have in common, and what you don’t!
  5. Once you’re finished, enjoy an evening talking through your aspirations—big and small—and dream about how you can conquer these goals together!

So, how do you and your partner compare? If you didn’t get the same results, no biggie. This is a great time to talk through your different approaches to money and how you can work together to be happy and comfortable without sacrificing your individual ambitions and priorities. Because by understanding you and your significant other’s preferences, you’ll be better equipped to communicate and make decisions that reflect both of your wants, needs and goals.

Date 2: Can I get your number?

Over plates of pasta or your favorite burrito you and your partner will take a deep dive into each other’s spending habits. While you may already have a pretty good idea of who’s the saver or spender between the pair of you, this exercise will help you lay your cards on the table to reveal how much (or how little) each of you are willing to shell out for all kinds of items and experiences. While it might feel a little strange to talk about your finances at times, around 63% of couples say they wish they’d had more insight into their partner’s money habits early on.

  1. Order from your favorite take‐out spot and set the mood lighting with some candles. If you can agree on the price of dinner, you’re already ahead of the curve).
  2. In between bites, and on your own devices, select your number based on what you would feel comfortable spending on some everyday (and not‐so‐everyday) items.
  3. As you move through your selections, you may be surprised to see where you align and diverge. You will also be able to see where you stack up against the masses! Who knows, perhaps you are both savers after all!

 

When it comes to spending, splurging and saving, we all have our priorities. And while it’s okay (and normal) for you and your amour to differ on what you think things are worth, knowing what to expect and being in the same ballpark can make financial decisions more breezy.

 

 

 

Did you find yourself leaning toward a super saver while your S.O. is more of a big spender?  Or maybe you both fall somewhere in between? At the end of the day, you don’t have to be perfectly aligned in all your financial tendencies. Instead, the key is being open and honest about your habits and beliefs so you can navigate your similarities and differences with confidence and compassion.

 

If you do find your spending and saving tolerances look different, take some time to discuss how you can reconcile those discrepancies in various areas of your life. Especially if you choose to combine finances, you’ll want to both feel good about how your money is being used. For example, you might find that pooling money for joint needs — like food or home-related things — and keeping some cash separate for personal spending — things like clothes or entertainment — allows you to have financial freedom while still working toward shared goals.

Date 3: Afternoon delight

This date is all about feeling your most content, and you’ve heard it before: Money doesn’t buy happiness. Sure, it can buy you things or experiences, but at the end of the day, more cash (or more stuff) won’t bring lasting contentment. That’s where a happiness list comes in. It’s simple: a list of about 10 things, big or small, that bring you joy on a weekly basis.

  1. Grab a blanket and the picnic essentials: cheese, charcuterie, crackers, cookies and your drink of choice.
  2. Head out to your favorite outdoor spot, whether it’s a local park, your patio or building rooftop—anywhere you can catch a nice view.
  3. The happiness list can be filled in on your device or written in a notebook (if pen and paper are more your vibe). Whichever you choose, bring it with you for this adventure.
  4. List out the things that make you happy. Don’t over think it—just jot down what you love or makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning.
  5. Swap lists and read with an open mind!

Complete Your Happiness List Here

Creating your happiness list can help you define what is valuable to you and what is most worth your time and money. By sharing it with your partner, you can better understand what will bring you long‐term joy together — and you may discover areas where spending less won’t feel like such a sacrifice. Look for areas of overlap where splurging is mutually embraced. For instance, if you both wrote that the smell of coffee brewing in the morning brings you happiness, then make preparing the coffee pot before bed a priority. For areas without overlap, use your lists as reminder that it’s okay for you or your partner to splurge on occasion—especially if your priorities and necessities are being covered. Melding your lists will help you get a better picture of what adds value to your lives and what isn’t worth your time, energy or money.

P.S. You can use your findings as the basis to plan your next date adventure!

Financially stronger together

Relationships are built on chemistry and passion. Successful ones are sustained by
communication, patience and honesty — all of which especially matter when it comes to
money. From daily spending habits to long‐term career, family and retirement
aspirations, understanding each other’s financial side is paramount to a sustainable,
healthy dynamic that can weather life’s inevitable ups and downs. Completing the
financially open bootcamp has hopefully opened (or widened) the door to a lifetime of
discussions, decisions and teamwork toward financial freedom and adventures galore!

Is combining finances on your relationship to-do list?

Learn More About Combining Finances at Ally