Talk Is Not Cheap

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, February 5, 2006

If you want to try talking with your boyfriend about money without counseling, you may wonder where to begin. Well, I've developed a quiz to get you started. After you've taken it, print out a copy to your future spouse or send him to this Web page so he can take it, too. Then sit down during a nonstressful time and discuss your results. Make it a no-blame conversation. Communicate all your feelings. Don't hold anything back. Listen. Be patient.

1. We have discussed how money was handled in each of our families.
True False
2. I know exactly how much my future spouse earns.
True False
3. I'm comfortable with how my future spouse spends his/her money.
True False
4. I know how much he/she has saved in various saving and investment accounts. We have shared these documents, too.
True False
5. I know exactly how much debt my future spouse has.
True False
6. We've talked about how the credit cards should be handled -- if they should be paid off every month, or if it's okay to carry a balance.
True False
7. I have seen all three of my future spouse's most recent credit reports and credit scores.
True False
8. We have talked about how we each approach bill paying -- for instance, I pay bills the day I get them; my partner always pays bills late.
True False
9. My future spouse and I have discussed which one of us will handle paying the bills.
True False
10. We've discussed whether we will talk about major purchases.
True False
11. We have agreed to develop a budget.
True False
12. We have discussed whether we will have joint or separate bank accounts.
True False
13. We have discussed the possibility that one of us may want to be a stay-at-home parent and how that might impact our finances.
True False
14. We have discussed our financial goals, such as buying a home or putting money away in a college fund if we have children.
True False
15. We have discussed how much it would take for us to feel financially secure.
True False
16. We have discussed and come to a compromise on how to deal with our different money styles -- spendthrift versus cheapskate, for instance.
True False
17. We have discussed whether it would be okay if either one of us quits his/her job to start a business, even if it means using our house as collateral for the start-up.
True False
18. We have discussed the importance of meeting and discussing our finances regularly.
True False
19. We have discussed how much we want to give to religious organizations or favorite charities.
True False
20. We have discussed when each of us wants to retire and what type of retirement we envision.
True False

Michelle Singletary




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