Talking Money With Your Honey
Talking Money With Your Honey

As relationships change labels at the drop of a dime, couples are factoring in an essential aspect that could make or break a dynamic — talking finances

Today’s time is all about smart decisions. Educationist Sakshi Soni is engaged to a CA. And even though there are six months to their marriage, they are taking financial decisions together for their future. In the ever-changing dynamics of modern-day relationships, people are aware enough to talk about finances. To understand the person better and to ensure that friction in their relationship doesn’t occur due to financial issues.


Financial intimacy means two people in a relationship talking about their financial condition, status, and beliefs openly. Couples and individuals term this element as a very important part of their relationship. It gives a relationship more clarity and direction. PR professional Mansi Mehta, who has been married for over eight years, considers it one of the building blocks. “Before we decided to tie the knot, my husband told me that he needs time to become financially stable for our future. But my decision of saying that we can do it together has brought us a long way. It helped us to lead a life that we both wanted to. We have saved over the years for the rainy days, we have taken international trips together, and today we have a three-year-old daughter and jointly take care of her financial needs,” she says.


According to relationship coach Preeti Khare, today, couples looking at long-term relationships are increasingly focusing on having financial clarity from the beginning. She explains, “Individuals want to know the financial hygiene of their partners to be sure that they can afford the lifestyle they want as a unit. Along with physical and emotional intimacy, financial intimacy or how much they can understand and connect financially is a deciding factor for many.”


Taking informed financial decisions together helps couples function much better as a unit. “When we started dating, we had nothing in our accounts, and today, I have my business up and running and he is a director in a French media firm. One thing that we have followed to the T since our initial days is that we have been open about our financial conditions. I have supported him when in need, and vice versa. Right from how much we have to spend on a gift for his nephew’s birthday to how much we spend on a trip, we have always decided that together. This accounts for our individual needs as well, and we have been respectful and understanding about it,” says entrepreneur Aarin Sorathiya, who credits financial intimacy for his success in a 12-year strong relationship with his boyfriend.


Lack of clarity or a conversation channel regarding finances can put serious strain on a relationship. And often, this can even lead to couples breaking up.


According to psychiatrist Dr JP Agarwal, almost 15-20 per cent of the cases related to couples’ counselling are due to financial problems. “Due to communication gaps, couples initially don’t discuss this, and later when they don’t find financial stability, they tend to look for exits. I have seen that many- a-time, people are not able to accept their financial situation due to their social conditioning as well. This is often exposed at a later stage in the relationship and becomes the reason for serious conflicts.”


The traditional setup where the man takes care of finances and the woman lets him handle them is long gone now. With more and more women getting into the position of financial power and independence, this conversation has become relevant unlike ever before. Dating coach Prateek Jain points out, “Earlier, when there was a huge pay parity, it was not even a conversation, but now it is a reasonable one. When the two of them become aware of the bond and the relationship starts to take a serious turn, that is when this conversation should happen.”


“Individually, many people are clear with what they want, be it a short-term goal like buying a car or a long-term one of settling somewhere. It is the need of the hour because women today have found their footing. This also helps couples make risky decisions together in terms of big investments,” adds psychologist Anandita Roy.


Pay gap also is a deciding factor when it comes to monetary divisions. It also shows how much a person is willing to accommodate and adjust. Moumita Chakraborty, content head at an MNC, says, “My boyfriend is in the IT sector and his salary is relatively much more than what I make. But, we have a joint account, it is our travel fund. At the end of every month, we transfer whatever amount is feasible to that account. Other than this, whatever day-to-day expenses we have, we divide it according to who is more involved. For example, he uses the car more so he is in charge of the fuel, and I love cooking so I take care of the kitchen expenses and so on,” she says.


However, how the finances would be shared is a personal choice and needs to be discussed and decided with one’s partner. For operations manager Azlaan Khan, who is in a live-in relationship, everything is divided equally. “It was my girlfriend who brought up the topic of finances. There is a gap between what I get as a corporate professional and what she, as a performing art professional, earns. But she wanted to divide everything equally and I respect that. Even today, if she is in a financial crunch, she borrows money from me, but makes it a point to return the amount as soon as she has funds,” he says.


Also, not everyone can manage and understand finance. Thus, many people prefer to let their partners who understand it better take change. Kajal Vijay Dangle, who works as a cabin crew member, has a dynamic salary structure. “My boyfriend is well aware of how my cash flow is every month. Depending on that we divide our expenses each month. He is a responsible man personally and financially, and mutually, we have decided that he calls the shots. We have primary goals like buying a house and a car, and then we have secondary goals like going to parties and going on trips. Accordingly, he decides where to invest and when,” she says.


Social worker Shahanaz Afruza has been dating for two years now and since day one, along with her boyfriend, has been tracking all their joint expenses through an app. She says, “We keep updating everything that we spend on, on the app. It not only helps us to keep a track of how much we are spending, so that we don’t overspend, but it keeps giving us reminders that we don’t do unnecessary expenditure.”


On the other hand, PR professional Abhishek Yadav maintains an excel sheet to track finances. “My wife is in the banking sector and she has a steady income. I have a business, and thus, I don’t have a fixed date, but I get money in bulk. She handles the household expenses and I pay all the EMIs for the properties that we have. We don’t get into the household matters because she leads that but here, it is easier for us to keep track of how much is going in these accounts.”


“But, don’t let love blind you, be smart and practical with your decision. As relationships are increasingly becoming fragile, not everyone is comfortable making such a commitment without building a personal backup financial support system first. And the reasons can be varied. “I am in a happy relationship with my partner but we haven’t done any investment jointly. I recently bought a new car and all of that is in my name. Who knows what happens in the future?” says fitness trainer Vishnu Swami.


“Unless I know I will get married to the person, I am not in favour of sharing financial information. I try to set financial boundaries like deciding how much I can spend on a trip and the places where I can afford to go eat. I never discuss my salary, and I don’t understand why a person should. Every day, the news has something or the other about getting conned by a partner. Call me paranoid, but this is what it is with me,” adds photographer Swapnil Namdev.


The trick might then be as one of our colleagues reveals: “Share the financial burden with the partner on a mutually decided and accepted level while not revealing the entire salary amount to the partner and have one’s own emergency fund in place as well.” It’s all about making the smart choice.


Image: Unsplash

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