Why money matters in love – the art of ‘financial dating’

money matters in love

Financial compatibility is not always top of the list when ticking the boxes of your perfect partner wish list. However, given the current cost of living crisis and constant interest rate hikes, financial wellness can no longer be ignored.

“Too many couples are not taking financial compatibility into account,” says Janine Horn, Financial Adviser at Momentum. “There is a lot of emphasis placed on love languages. However, people often completely disregard financial compatibility as one of the most critical love languages of all.”  

We often don’t realise that money is the golden thread through all the love languages, as most day-to-day functions require money in some form. “That’s why it’s important for us to discuss the universal love language of money with each other, particularly with our loved ones,” says Horn.   

Numerous studies have found that the lack of financial compatibility is one of the leading causes of breakdowns in romantic relationships and marriages. To address this, Horn has coined the concept of “financial dating”, which is set to drastically improve the longevity and success of financial relationships, including marriages, co-parenting, co-habiting and maintenance. “Financial dating is the key to redoing, renewing, and restoring financial relationships,” Horn says. 

Speaking to what financial dating is, she says, “To understand what financial dating is, we need to realise that it is a concurrent journey that people go on when they decide to build a long-term financial future together. As partners, you focus on the financial factor/s and goal/s. The sooner one starts dating with finances and financial goals in mind, the more solid the foundation of the relationship is – and solid foundations are what happy homes and relationships are built on.”  

“It is also important to note that we all view money through a different lens. Our perception of money is shaped by various factors such as upbringing, employment, discipline, and so much more. This is why knowing the contents of your partner’s financial heart and their financial intentions is crucial to any relationship,” Horn says.  

For her, trust, open communication, and consideration are essential pillars in relationships, and these concepts should also be applied when financially dating. “Being open and honest about how you view finances can be a useful tool in preventing mistrust, resentment and conflict in the relationship,” she says. “Relationships are opportunities. They give us the space to evolve, to grow, to learn to love the parts of ourselves that we don’t always pay attention to. Relationships take work, conscious effort, and the desire and willingness to unlearn toxic patterns together.”  

All in all, Horn says, it is okay if you and your partner are not financially compatible. “Financial compatibility is something you can work towards. But with the right advice, you and your partner can define your financial future together on your collective journey to success.”