Why You Should Talk Debt Like a MillennialFeb 13, 2018
Debt is sticky. Once you have it, it can be hard to shake. If you’re in a relationship, it can affect that, too. That’s why it may be best to act like a millennial when it comes time to discuss debt in a relationship. According to our recent Debt Confessions poll, millennials are most likely to talk about debt within the first six months of dating, which can help them avoid financial, and personal, problems in the future.
Why it’s best to talk about money at the beginning of a relationship
An astounding 59 per cent of people surveyed wish they could change at least one of their partner’s financial habits, and yet over 35 per cent of Canadians in a relationship rarely—or never—talk about personal finances.
We would recommend that you talk early and often about money with your partner. Our poll found that millennials are more likely to talk sooner—50 per cent of them told their partner about their debt loads within the first six months of dating. Gen Xers were more likely not to have the debt talk into they moved in together, while nearly one in four baby boomers have never discussed debt with their partners. This is one area where parents could learn something from their (adult) kids!
If you decide to talk about money and debt, you’ll get a better understanding your partner’s point of view, they’ll better understand yours, and you should be able to find some middle ground that can help you achieve your goals.
Why millennials are more likely to talk about money and debt
The fact is, millennials have been given some tough circumstances to manage, generationally.
The lack of job security (real or perceived), living wages, affordable housing, and affordable family planning are hitting this generation harder than their parents.
That’s probably why some young Canadians have learned to talk honestly about finances, and have regular discussions about the financial hardships and risks at each phase of their lives.
It pays to be open and honest
Financial struggles and tough choices (such as buying a house or going to school, meeting career goals or having a family, paying student loans or saving for retirement) are a reality for millennials. Money and debt are front-of-mind, and many millennials feel less fear, embarrassment, or shame talking about financial struggles.
This habit can have positive effects. People who are more conscious of their spending and their debt, and more willing to talk honestly about it, may be less likely to have future debt problems. This can extend to their shared finances as a couple, too.
Jordann from My Alternate Life talks about her process of reassessing her wants and needs to meet her lifestyle (not her childhood expectations) and her finances.
How to talk about your finances with your partner
Get to know your own personal financial preferences, and be honest about your habits. Make note of what you like and don’t like about your behaviour, and what your most important goals are. Have your partner do the same, and then share your lists.
Creating mutual goals will help you make compromises, such as spending less, saving more, or diversifying your investments.
You won’t agree on everything, and that’s OK. But remember that your financial life together will last as long as your relationship, so it needs to be given attention and kindness, too.
And remember, you can never be too young, or too old, to talk about money with your partner. Discussing money and debt openly can help both of you set financial goals and avoid hidden debt traps.