In the early days of love, it can be hard to force yourself to have that conversation with your partner. You know the conversation where you openly and honestly tell each other about your pasts, about any skeletons in your closets, and about any sexually infectious diseases. We get tested, we use protection. We do what we have to do to protect ourselves.
In her piece for Business Chicks, writer Melissa Browne explains that that mentality needs to be applied to our finances as well because too many of us are putting ourselves at risk of catching an STD.
A sexually transmitted debt.
Browne, an accountant and money expert, wants women to know that anyone can get an STD. Even those who don’t have any money or who feel confident in their partners handling of their finances.
She explains that in her line of work she meets people from all walks of life who are struggling with STDs they received from partners they thought were loving.
Let's talk about debt, baby. (iStock)
"In one instance the partner was a high-flying executive who took a few risks and then fled overseas while the wife was left liable for the mountain of debts," she writes. "She was left shocked, surprised and with a nasty case of STD."
So how do you avoid an STD?
1. Have the talk
While asking a new partner to let you look at their bank statements and for a full credit report doesn't make for the best pillow talk, the beginning of a relationship is the best time to share financial information.
"Before you get serious and definitely before you start to share any sort of financial products including bank accounts, credit cards, phone or internet, rental agreements and more, make sure you have a conversation about money," Browne writes. "This includes who owns what, who owes what, what taxes are outstanding and what you hope to achieve with your finances."
Browne acknowledges the "giant ick factor associated with talking about money", but encourages women to put on their "big-girl pants and have the conversation." By having the conversation early you're making sure your financial sensibilities align and ensuring that you'll have less financial surprises down the line.
2. Keep things transparent
Talk is cheap, and seeing is believing, so Browne says it's important to get your "eyeballs on bank statements". She is not advocating sharing bank login information, particularly at the beginning of a relationship, but she does suggest having a regular chat about how each of you are doing financially where you bring along your bank statements.