People come to me with various questions all the time – a frequent question I am asked is should my life partner and I discuss any financial issues before we get married or join our lives together?
This is definitely a very important discussion to be having. You can start the discussion by discussing how you both feel about basic issues of financial responsibility. Will you support each other in diversity? What does diversity mean to you? – if either of you lost your job or had to scale down due to business pressures – how would that affect the relationship? If either one of you became seriously ill and was unable to work – how would you cater for that? Do either of you feel an obligation to support family members? Would you be able to support each other in helping the other achieve this? What about responsibilities towards ex-spouse or children from former marriages or relationships? What is the expectation and can either partner support and fulfil this?
You should talk openly about your respective attitudes towards spending, debt and saving. Be sure not to the think you know the answer. Who is going to manage the household bill paying and run the household spending? Who is going to pay for what? And how are you going to divide these expenses up with no resentment towards each other?
What are your long-term goals as a couple? How well do you share? How well do save and invest towards the future and how open are you in discussing these facts?
A partnership in life depends on trust, transparency and a joint responsibility in meeting the needs of each partner for the greater good of the whole. I believe it is one of the most important roles you will ever be tasked with; it is indeed the business of your life.