Are You and Your Partner Financially Compatible? Ask These 5 Questions to Find Out


Compatibility with a partner is a multifaceted issue. You want to make sure you enjoy each other’s company and respect each other’s values. And if you’re building a life together, you also want to be on the same page about your personal finances.

It’s not the most fun conversation to have, but discussing your finances with your partner now could prevent a lot of stress and conflict down the line. Here are five questions you can ask to get started.

1. What are your core financial values?

Your core financial values are the guiding principles that shape how you earn and spend money. Major differences here could create long-term problems for couples.

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Most people want to be financially secure and independent. But dig deeper than that. Ask questions like:

  • Is it important for one or both of you to maintain a certain type of lifestyle?
  • How important is work-life balance to you?
  • Do you want to devote a portion of your income to giving back to others?
  • Do you prefer to spend your money on experiences or physical possessions?
  • Is it worth it to you to spend more to be more environmentally friendly?

Ask as many follow-up questions as you need to get a clear picture of your partner’s views.

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2. How do you envision managing shared expenses?

Shared expenses include everything from the rent and grocery bills to major long-term purchases, like a home or higher education. Every couple handles these differently. Some choose to open joint bank accounts and contribute an equal amount, while others prefer to keep their money separate and contribute proportionally based on their earnings. There’s no wrong answer. It’s all about what you and your partner are comfortable with.

Talk about how you plan to handle short- and long-term shared costs. You may already be sharing some expenses, so this is also a good time to raise any concerns you have about your current system.

3. How comfortable are you taking financial risks?

Some people are more risk-averse than others. This affects how they choose to pursue their long-term financial goals. For example, some might choose to bet big on riskier investments in the hope of making a profit quickly while others prefer to stick to more tried-and-true methods, even if it means waiting longer to achieve their goals.

Talk about what both of you think are financial risks worth taking and what’s too risky. You may also want to discuss what you’d do if one of you wanted to take a certain financial risk, like starting a business, and the other person was less certain about it.

4. What’s your biggest financial strength and weakness?

This is an opportunity for you and your partner to share what you bring to the table and where you might need a little extra assistance. Someone might earn a general salary, but not be a great budgeter. Or maybe you’re good with day-to-day money management but you don’t know much about investing for the long term.

Understanding each person’s strengths and weaknesses can help you allocate your financial responsibilities accordingly. It can also help you identify areas where you both might need assistance. For example, if neither of you is confident about filing your own taxes, you may want to consult a tax professional.

5. What are your financial deal breakers?

Everyone has financial deal breakers. It can be hard to share these things, but it’s important to do so if you hope to be on the same page with your partner.

A recent survey by Edelman Financial Engines revealed a list of Americans’ top financial deal breakers, including:

  • Not being honest with each other about spending
  • Making big purchases without telling the other person
  • Not sharing important financial information with their partner
  • Not having similar long-term goals
  • Disagreeing about how to manage debt
  • Not having a similar vision for the future
  • Not being willing to share bank accounts and finances equally
  • Disagreeing about how much to save for the future
  • Disagreeing about how much to spend on kids

But you’re free to add your own deal breakers to the list if others come to mind.

If this feels like too much to discuss in one conversation, split it up into a few. Do your best to stay calm and nonjudgmental during these discussions. If concerns arise, talk through them with your partner and see if you can come to a satisfactory compromise.

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