Love and money: Are you financially compatible?


You pick your partner based on many things, from physical attributes to emotional traits to maybe even their astrological sign—but what about their money mindset?

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Brian Ford (00:07):

Welcome to Money and Mindset with Bright and Brian, where we balance finance with positive psychology. Each episode, we give you practical advice on managing not just your finances, but your outlook as well. With a background in all things financial, I'm Brian Ford. I'm here with my homie, Bright Dickson, our go-to smart cookie on positive psychology. So, last time we talked about our individual relationships with money, but today we're diving into how our finances come into play in our relationships with others, especially our significant other, and Bright, I think it's interesting when considering who we like or who we think we're compatible with, it's totally normal to think of physical attributes, emotional traits, maybe even their style, intelligence, possibly even an astrological sign, but what about their money habits? How should this come into play? How can we tell if we're on the same page with someone financially? So in this episode, we'll explore how finances affect our relationships and how to talk about money with our sweetheart. Bright, you ready to get this romantic money party started?

Bright Dickson (01:15):

You know it, Brian. Money can be hard to talk about, even with people we trust like a significant other, but it's extremely important to discuss when cultivating a successful relationship, and Brian, I think we should start by talking through our own relationship statuses to give everybody a little context. So I'm single and dating, but not really because of the pandemic, and Brian, you've been married for a while now, huh?

Brian Ford (01:48):

Yeah. I like the term a while. It's pretty good. No, it's been 21 years, if you can believe that; I can't, but it has been.

Bright Dickson (01:57):

21 years. And I think one of the things is that money is part of a relationship from day one.

Brian Ford (02:04):

Yeah. No, absolutely. I don't think it's really ever too early to talk about money, especially when you're dating, and it becomes even more important when you're married, for sure. And I will say Bright, I am excited for this episode because it gets at the heart of why I got into financial education. When I was growing up, as you know, I was a total nerd, I loved the subject of personal finance. I could pick up books about the subject, like finance books, and just totally devour them. In fact, I thought everyone liked finance as much as I did, but anyway, that's another subject. Yeah. Yeah. But I will say, as I grew up and I continued to study finance and I learned about it, I totally dug it. I will say when I was in high school, I had a couple of friends and their parents got divorced in a relatively short period of time.

Brian Ford (02:53):

And that was tough on my little circle of friends. And we talked about that and as we chatted, we realized, I said, "What do you think it came down to? What was the issues?" And they said, "I don't know, but they argue a lot about money." Both of them would say that, and I know from my own family that my parents went through a doozy when I was young and it was because of money. And so this thing that I loved, kind of like someone would love soccer, it became more than just a hobby or something that I liked. It became very personal because I realized very early on that this money thing can really mess up things that matter to us, like our relationships. And I think this hobby or this like really turned into a passion for me because it became much more personal. But I'll say that, financial compatibility, it doesn't mean that you have to be ... I don't know, on the same page all the time with finances, you certainly don't need to agree on everything financially.

Brian Ford (03:50):

Typically when we argue about money, we're not arguing about these little pieces of paper in our pockets and in our purses, really what we're doing is we're disagreeing on how to spend it. And that's an argument about what we value. And as soon as I started to realize that, I was like, "OK, this is about what we care most about in life." And I remember, after I had been married for a little while and I started to figure out that it's not about money, it's more about what we care most about and how we spend it and so forth, I sat down with my wife and I said, "Look, sweetie, let's just write down the things we care most about in life." So we did this separately. She made her list, and not just the big things like faith and family, freedom. We kept going, we listed out like 20, 25.

Brian Ford (04:35):

I think one of us got to 30. And again, when you get past the big things, you have to start listing more everyday type things. But we listed these out, we did it separately, we prioritized them. And then we came together and we started chatting about it, and it was fascinating. I will tell you, this is the honest truth, she looked at my list and right after some of those big, really important things, I got that right. But right after that, I had listed college football, and I'm sure some of our listeners are like, "Oh my gosh, I actually thought this guy was for real." And my wife seriously was like, "Babe, are you kidding? Is that real?" And I'm like, "Yeah, that's in order." I love college football and to this day, it's still true. I just absolutely love it.

Brian Ford (05:17):

I could watch a game just about any time, I follow the different teams, but she knew I liked college football; she didn't realize it was that high. And I looked at her list and I was like, "For real, that is that high?" And she was like, yeah. But what was awesome, Bright, is we started to have a conversation about the things that matter most to us. And we realized the good news was we had a lot in common; the big things, thank goodness, we had in common. And we realized that the majority of our hard-earned money needs to be spent on these big things that we have in common.

Brian Ford (05:50):

But then there was some stuff that I had that I cared about that she didn't, and vice versa. But instead of arguing about it in the heat of the moment, when we spend money on those things that we don't think are important, but to our partner they are, we had a conversation about it. We could talk about it, and we made allowances within our budget. So again, it's fascinating. I just think that if couples could do this a little bit more often, or if they could just realize, again, it's not the money thing, it's this deeper kind of, "What do you really care about?" thing. I found that very helpful in my relationship.

Bright Dickson (06:22):

Yeah, and a couple of things I want to just highlight in what you were saying, Brian, is that, one, that nugget of, it's not about the spending, it's not about the money, it's about the values, right? That's huge because money is just a representation of what we care about; how we spend our money is just a reflection of what we care about. And you want to be aligned on what you care about. The other thing is that you had the conversation at all, because I think there are so many people out there who are in relationships and there's this tension around money. And the short term easiest thing to do is just not talk about it or talk about it on a really surface level. And a huge part of compatibility, financial and otherwise, is this openness to discussion, to talking, to compromising, to planning, being able to have those conversations is a huge part of a relationship anywhere you are on the duration and intensity spectrum of relationships.

Bright Dickson (07:29):

And there has to be room along with those similar values, right? When you come to agreement on, "Here's what we care about from what I care about and you care about." There's also got to be room for those divergent interests, right? And I was thinking about a relationship that I was in a while ago and we were living together and I like, you value college football, right? I value a beautiful home.

Bright Dickson (07:53):

And I like my space to be a certain way, and I like to fiddle around with it and I like to buy stuff. And I like to spend money on creating a beautiful environment where I live. He was not so into that, and he didn't get what that was for me, how important it was, and it caused a lot of conflict; and part of the reason it caused conflict is that we couldn't really talk about it. And that relationship did not continue. I tried for a long time, but it did not continue. But you've got to be able to have this openness to conversation, and I think who your partner is, how they approach money, how you guys do that together, it impacts your own well-being, your family's well-being, the well-being of the people around you, the well-being of your partner. It's incredibly important.

Brian Ford (08:42):

Yeah, for sure, being open about money is important in a romantic relationship. Next, we'll talk about ways couples can strengthen their financial relationship so, if you're in a relationship, if you're married. And then we're going to shift gears and talk about how singles can start talking about money with their potential partners.

Bright Dickson (09:00):

So, Brian, I'm going to be super nosy for a minute. When you were first dating your wife, how did you talk about money? When did you talk about money? How did you do that, as our resident financial nerd?

Brian Ford (09:27):

Well look, we did talk about money for sure. By then I'd already realized how important this was, I loved the subject, I wanted to build a career in it. I think I needed to be careful not to talk about it too much, but again, for our listeners sake, I will just say that we talked about it and I think it was healthy. We would bring it up from time to time and it was casual, just to see where each other were at, just to make sure we were compatible. Now, I'll tell a story that comes to mind. True story. I was picking up my future wife so we were dating at the time for a date, and I think she figured we'd probably do dinner and a movie or something. I knock on her door and I'm like, "Hey, I've got these things that I want us to look at."

Brian Ford (10:07):

And she's like, OK. I plop down these massive packets on her table, her kitchen table. And it was a FAFSA. And that just stands for, Free Application for Federal Student Aid. We were both in college, and I was like, "Hey, I think it would be awesome if we fill these out together. I think there's found money here." And I'm telling you, I wish I had a recorder because her face was like, "You're joking. Right? Let's go out. Let's have fun."

Bright Dickson (10:32):

How romantic Brian, FAFSA.

Brian Ford (10:34):

I know, FAFSA romance. I'm telling you. So look, she wasn't too pumped on it, but she knew who I was. She knew how important this was, and we did. We sat down, we grinded it out for probably, I don't know, like an hour and a half. This was just these big applications. We turned them in.

Brian Ford (10:52):

We still ended up doing some fun stuff afterwards. I think we went and got some ice cream or something, but I will tell you that a few weeks later, this ended up being a $10,000 good thing for us once we got married, and my wife was really excited about that. That is a lot of money for anybody, especially paycheck to paycheck, starving students that can't even afford to put gas in their car, and their crappy car, by the way. And so that was a good thing, even though it was weird, it wasn't very romantic. It was just one of those stories that reminds me of the fact that we tried to talk about these things. We tried to do things right. We tried to get on the same page as much as we can, but anyways, one of those crazy things and I'm sure my wife is not fond of thinking about that that night.

Bright Dickson (11:34):

Well, it sounds like she knew who she was marrying when she did that. She was not ... you did not let her be ignorant about who you really were, huh?

Brian Ford (11:41):

That's right. That's right. In fact, look, I remember when we were thinking and talking about getting married, I remember sitting in the car and I was scared, and I'm usually not scared of very many things in life. I know what direction I'm going in, and I feel like it's the right one and even if I make a mistake, I don't look back always or have a lot of regrets because I felt like my own happiness was in my own hands. But I remember before I proposed to my wife, I was petrified. And I told her that, I'm like, "Sweetie, I love you. I want to spend the rest of our lives together, but this is the first time I'm putting a little bit of my own happiness in someone else's hands. And it scared me, and I told her those things. So look, marriage is a big deal, no doubt. But I think something that can really help is just talking about it a little bit more often and a little bit earlier than we think we should in a romantic relationship.

Bright Dickson (12:28):

I agree. So, let's take the case where you're in a relationship and everything feels good except for there's this struggle around money or tension around money. What do you do to improve that? How do you start rebuilding not only the relationship you have to money, but the relationship you have to each other?

Brian Ford (12:49):

Well, first I think it's important to realize that in relationships, typically one of the partners is more financially inclined than the other. So that's me, obviously. I'll call this person in the relationship the nerd. And I'll tell you, if you're listening to this podcast, you may be nerdier than you think. I'm not sure, but I mean that as a compliment, but I will say that we nerds, we need to be patient. We need to realize that our relationship with our sweetheart, it's much more important than getting everything just right financially. But your question reminds me of this dude in one of my financial education classes, I had been teaching this class at a company earlier. It was six months earlier I taught the class. We talked about the importance of emergency accounts and getting organized and automating your finances. But they had me come back six months later to do a follow-up and to see where people are at.

Brian Ford (13:42):

And also just to continue the process of getting these folks in a better place financially. And as I was setting up for the class, this guy came up to me and he's like, "Hey, I just want to chat with you for a minute. Do you have a second?" I was like, "Yeah." I was nervous about teaching this class. I was trying to get everything right, I tried to make time for him for a second, but he said, "I want you to know that you saved my marriage," and I stopped everything I was doing. I certainly wasn't nervous anymore. I looked at him and I'm like, "Wait, are you sure you've got the right guy? I'm the finance dude. I'm not the marriage counseling guy." And he's like, "Yeah, you did." He's like, "I'll tell you that my wife and I were really struggling when you were here six months ago, and it was because of money. And we had made the decision to throw in the towel. We were planning on getting a divorce."

Brian Ford (14:29):

And he said, "But what I did is I felt inspired by the class and I went home and instead of saying like, "We've got to do this sweetheart," I just said, "Hey, there's this education program they're offering at work. They want us to go through it, maybe we should do it together." And she agreed. They spent the entire weekend going through the program, and then it just catapulted them forward. He said a couple things, that one, just by working together on something he said he's not even sure if the finance thing was what really matters, just working together towards a common goal was really cool. But then the fact that it was finance, I think, even helped because that was some of the biggest issues that they were dealing with. And it helped me understand that working towards something together that brings us together, and that actually helps solve a real money issue, can sometimes turn things around and build momentum into going in the right direction.

Bright Dickson (15:23):

Oh yeah. So true, right? It's this shift of me versus you and my needs versus your needs to we, right? To our values, to what we want to do together, like the us versus the world thing. And I think your point about that it can turn a relationship around, is that so many of us, because of family patterns, because of maybe financial struggles we've had in the past, we have a ton of negative emotion around talking about this stuff, and there's shame that comes up and there's fear that comes up. But really these kinds of conversations are opportunities for intimacy, and when I say intimacy, I mean connection and togetherness. That they are opportunities for us to come together around what really matters to us. And so I think when you're able to flip that from, 'Oh, there's this obstacle," to, "Hey, we have an opportunity," it lightens things up and then you can start to talk. That mindset shift is so critical to happiness around money and relationships.

Brian Ford (16:29):

I agree. I loved what you said about it's us against the world. I'll tell you, that tactic works. I've seen it, not only with couples but individuals. But there's all kinds of stuff going on in the world. And if we can have this mentality of like, "Hey, it's us, we are better together, and we can conquer this." And it is us against the world. And I think this gentleman took that attitude. Look, I don't know if he was the nerd in that relationship or not, but either way, it wasn't like the nerd elbowing the other one saying, "We've got to do this." It was just like, "Hey, there's this thing going on at work, let's do it together." And it wasn't like him pushing her or vice versa. So I think there's some good things to learn there from that story. It was eye-opening for me, but very cool.

Bright Dickson (17:09):

Being nerds together makes the world go round. So when couples disagree, there's a difference between disagreement and it being an argument or a conflict. How do you disrupt that pattern from it being a disagreement, or "I see it this way and you see it that way," to, "We're in a fight and it's a problem." What do you do to interrupt that pattern?

Brian Ford (17:34):

Well, first I'll say it's totally normal to disagree about money in our relationships. In fact, if you don't disagree about money every once in a while, you're not normal. So realize that, and a couple of things come to my mind is first I grew up in Southern California and I grew up along the San Andreas fault. So it's a big fault line. And so I went through a lot of earthquakes growing up, several, too many to count, believe it or not, in the 90s. And I'll tell you, when there was a small earthquake, it was super cool, whether it was in the middle of the night and we got up and had to get under the door hang, or it was even better when it was during school, because things would shake a little bit and we'd all get underneath our desks.

Brian Ford (18:12):

And then we would all go out to the field and it disrupted school and I loved it. So these little earthquakes were awesome. But what was interesting is we all were OK with these little earthquakes because we realized that the fault line was letting off pressure. And so these little ones were actually good, and it was a good sign that, "OK, a big one isn't building up." And I'll tell you that when I was in high school, I went through what was called the Northridge Quake in the 90s and it freaked me out. It woke me up in the middle of the night, I was having a friend sleep over. I was bouncing off the bed like six inches, it was so violent. I woke up screaming in a very high pitched voice, I've never even done that before. A bookshelf fell on my friend.

Brian Ford (18:55):

There was a couple of freeway overpasses that actually fell within a mile of us. So we could hear those. We didn't know that's what it was at the time, but these big, loud, boom, boom anyways, it was frightening. And so we always in California got worried when there weren't these small ones intermittently. And I think the same is true in our relationships, with your partner. We need to communicate more often around the small things. Don't let the small money issues build up pressure into something really big. So I think that's the first thing that I think of, was just communicating a little bit more often, getting the small things out on the table so to speak.

Bright Dickson (19:30):

So if something's bothering you, don't save it up. Just go ahead and put it on the table.

Brian Ford (19:37):

Yeah, and you know, there's a balance to be had there as well. We all know whether it's in a relationship with a spouse or a partner or even a child, you do have to pick your battles and sometimes, especially as a nerd, just be quiet. Realize it's not that big of a deal, move on. So there's some of those things I'll say that, but then there are the things that are like, "You know what? If I don't chat about this, it will fester. I should chat about this."

Brian Ford (20:02):

And if you can tone it down, take away the emotion a little bit and that brings me to the second point, which is just disrupting these patterns. Sometimes as partners, we'll fight over some of the same things and we'll end up getting into the same pattern of the same argument. We need to realize that pattern, we do need to disrupt it. Disrupt it by just recognizing it and calling it what it is. Disrupt it by saying, this is crazy, we do this all the time, what about doing this. Or try and interject some humor, change the environment a little bit. Cool off before you chat, write things down and then talk about it. Start out by saying, "Look, I want to solve this. I'm worried about this. I love you.' Whatever it needs to be to disrupt that pattern I think is a good thing. And then just being able to talk about the small things, so they don't build up into big ones.

Bright Dickson (20:49):

And I think when those patterns are around, usually if something's coming up again and again and again, it means that there's an underlying issue that isn't resolved, right? Which goes back to this values question. So if you're annoyed at your partner's spending in one area, around cute stuff for the house or college football or whatever it is, there's probably a discrepancy in value there, which is the real conversation. Not, "I hate it when you spend money on those giant thumbs up signs at the football stadium," you can tell how into football I am "

Brian Ford (21:27):

I didn't even know what you were talking about when you started saying that.

Bright Dickson (21:30):

[crosstalk 00:21:30] I don't participate in the sports.

Brian Ford (21:37):

It's not one of the things, but that's OK.

Bright Dickson (21:37):

Well there are other things, the cheeses on your head. I don't know. I'm just picking up what I've seen in the pop culture, but you've got to address that underlying issue. And I think that's really the big message here.

Brian Ford (21:51):


Bright Dickson (22:03):

So enough about couples. For single people like me, dating can be tough already, and the science backs that up. A Pew Research survey recently found that nearly half of Americans say that dating is harder than it was 10 years ago.

Brian Ford (22:20):

Huh? That is fascinating. I wonder why that is, but you always want to think that it was hard when it was you were doing it, but it doesn't sound like it is, it sounds like it's a little tougher recently.

Bright Dickson (22:31):

I don't know the exact reasons, but I think that part of it is that there's generalized breakdown in a lot of communities and that impacts so many things, including how people meet, right? And there's a lot about online dating and how great it is, but I think in reality people have really various experiences with that and it's a pretty complicated thing.

Brian Ford (22:52):

Yeah. And regardless of the reason, look, money issues certainly can complicate an already difficult process, that's for sure.

Bright Dickson (22:59):

Yeah. And it's hard to talk about money with someone you trust, right? We've already been over how hard that is, but think about it's someone who you're just getting ... you're trying to get to know them, and you've got to at some point broach this money conversation.

Brian Ford (23:13):

You're right. It's tough to talk about money, especially at first, but I think it's important to start talking about it early in a relationship just so you can make sure that that person's right for you. If you're on the same page financially, it can be a lot easier to get along and focus on the fun stuff. I'll tell you, that is true for sure. Well look, Bright, I've got some questions for you as our resident single podcaster. When you are dating someone, what should you keep an eye out for when it comes to money?

Bright Dickson (23:43):

So I think the way that I approach this is that and this is maybe an unromantic way to do it but I think in some ways dating is like a very long interview process. And you want to be keeping track of what's most important to you, and if relationship to money is really important to you, which clearly we hope it is, you want to keep an eye on that as you're going through. So when I'm going on a date, a lot of first dates, for example, I tend to do ... instead of dinner and a movie, I like, first interaction is just a drink or just a coffee or whatever so that if I'm not getting the good vibes I can be like, "Well, got to go, bye."

Brian Ford (24:27):

I feel you, but isn't like picking the same movie really important? I don't know it is [inaudible 00:24:32] I'm kidding. I know what you're saying. I love that idea because I fell into the like, just go to a movie almost all the time when I would take out a first date. I love it. It's cool.

Bright Dickson (24:42):

Yeah. I love the movies, but I also have my friends who I go to movies with. Plus you don't get to really know someone in the movie, right? I think for me, it's like conversation is best. And I watch for what the interaction's like when the bill comes. So here's the place where I've grown; I used to just grab the bill because I didn't want to have this conversation. I used to just grab it so that we didn't have to talk about money. Now I let it sit and I wait to see, how's this interaction going to go? So I can pay, he can pay, that's not the point here, right? We can split it. That's not the point. The point is, how are we going to talk about this thing right off the bat? What's the quality of the conversation going to be like? What's the openness to the conversation going to be like? How does that go?

Brian Ford (25:38):

Yeah. That's advanced like Jedi dating stuff there.

Bright Dickson (25:41):

Well, I've been doing it for a while now.

Brian Ford (25:45):

Yeah. It's not about necessarily the thing itself. It's the conversation that ensues, and it's the comfort level at which you two are engaging in that conversation. It's fascinating. Certainly much more sophisticated dating than I engaged in.

Bright Dickson (25:57):

[crosstalk 00:25:57] It can tell me a lot about that other person, right? Just that openness to like, "Hey, here's a slightly awkward moment. How are we going to deal with this awkward moment?" Because if it's awkward on top of awkward, I know that's not going to work, right? If it's just awkward and we can be like, "Huh, this is awkward. How do you want to do this?" That's it, right? That's the second date, right? That might even be like, "Let's go grab dinner." Right.

Bright Dickson (26:24):

So it's really important that you monitor, is this going to be something that we can talk about or is it not? And I think that's important to keep your eye on as you go through. And also how they talk about money in general, you can tell a lot from people, about people. Do they bring up things like how expensive things are? Do they bring up things like how cheap things are? Right. What exactly they say isn't that important, but it's the quality of it that's really important.

Brian Ford (26:54):

Yeah. So you've got the first date, who pays for the first check, which ensues and gets a conversation going. Is there any other right times to bring up finances when you're dating or is there something that we should do to prepare for talking about money? What else can you tell us?

Bright Dickson (27:10):

So the preparation question is key. So first of all, you need to do your own work around your own finances, right? So judging other people is essentially my favorite activity. I'm not proud of that, but I've got to be honest about that. It's just how my brain works.

Brian Ford (27:27):

I'm super self-conscious now as we're podcasting [crosstalk 00:27:29]

Bright Dickson (27:29):

Well, I can tell you, your finances are all in line, Brian. But it's really easy to judge. What's harder is doing our own work. As individuals, we are responsible for understanding our own beliefs about money, our own values around money, where we are in our financial journey and where we're trying to go. So it's like, that's on me to understand for myself, and for those of you who might need help, please check out our previous episode where we talk all about this how do you understand and maybe change your own beliefs about money, right? So first do your own work, right? That's the most important piece of preparation. And it's going to make you feel more relaxed about the topic itself. And in terms of when exactly is the right time to bring this up, I think there is such a thing as like too early.

Brian Ford (28:22):

Yeah. Too early for the FAFSA.

Bright Dickson (28:24):

Too ... yeah. It worked out for you. I don't know, Brian, that it's going to work out for that many other people, right? But once you and that other person have decided like, "Hey, we feel serious about this and we want to start turning towards the future together." So when you're able to have that conversation, which is a big conversation in and of itself, we've moved from casually dating to some form of commitment to each other. And we want to join our lives in some way with the idea of increasing the joining of our lives over time, then you gotta start having this conversation. And here's the big thing. It can be extremely awkward and I fully, fully get that. This is a hard conversation, but the consequences of not having the conversation are way harder. You've got to have that conversation because if you don't and you get down the road and you find out some ... maybe new information to you, those consequences can really hurt. So it's better to know early than late.


Brian Ford (29:33):

I love that idea, that idea that having the conversation is hard, but the consequences of not having it are harder. That's fantastic. I love it.

Bright Dickson (29:42):

Way harder.

Brian Ford (29:43):

I'm writing that down right now. So let's take a real example. Let's take a real example like debt. Debt is tough. A lot of people have it, and it's OK to a certain degree, but at what point is it too much? And probably more importantly, do you ask someone you're dating, "Hey ... ." And obviously this is not a first three or four date type of question, but we're talking about, look, things are getting a little more serious. You like this person, you want to take it to the next level. At some point these tougher conversations need to occur. How do you talk about that? Should you talk about that? Do you ask just, "Hey, where are things at with debt?" Maybe you share a little bit with where you're at with student loan and what do you think about that or what are your feelings? Let's take this having a hard conversation about debt. What would you do? What do you think about that? Right.

Bright Dickson (30:29):

It's tremendously hard, again, tremendously awkward. And I want to say too that, I've known people who've gotten into relationships and then found out that their person had a lot of debt and a lot of consumer debt, particularly credit card debt. That was shocking and in every situation, it completely eroded the trust they have, right? Because if you make a legal commitment to someone, their debt is now your debt, and that is not a happy surprise. So again, conversation is hard, but the consequences of not having that conversation are harder. So I think when you're looking at, OK, we're going to join our lives, we're going to join, even join our finances in some way, so that includes things like splitting rent, living together, right?

Bright Dickson (31:18):

Any way in which you have some kind of common economy.

Brian Ford (31:22):

Joint accounts.

Bright Dickson (31:23):

Joint accounts, all that stuff. You do need to get into the question, right?

Brian Ford (31:29):

I agree.

Bright Dickson (31:29):

You can schedule it. You can say, "All right, we're going to talk about this thing." And if the person you're trying to talk to about it isn't interested in that conversation well, that's an important fact right there, because if the conversation isn't open, that is good information for you to know now. So the debt question, I think you sit down and you just lay it out to each other. You just put it on the table.

Brian Ford (31:55):

I agree. I've seen this in really working with couples and their finances, and there's one thing to have debt and to find that out early, and then to work through it together if that's what you so choose. It's another to keep it a secret and find it out later after things are more serious. Now that's not just a money issue. That's a relationship trust issue, and that's a much bigger thing. That's much more difficult to overcome. And so I agree with you, getting this out early, important stuff. Well said.

Bright Dickson (32:22):

And just to make this other point that's critical here is that these conversations can feel like obstacles, but they're not. These conversations are opportunities for increased connection, for increased intimacy and for increased love, right? Because think about, when you're able to have these tough conversations, this is what brings people closer together. So if you walk into it with that attitude, that's what's going to happen. And particularly if both of you are walking into it with that approach, it's critical to make sure that you know that this is an opportunity, not an obstacle.

Brian Ford (32:59):

Yeah, absolutely. Wise counsel. Bright, we're out of time, it was a great discussion today. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Money and Mindset.

Bright Dickson (33:16):

If you enjoyed our chat, please consider subscribing or dropping a rating and review in your podcast channel of choice, or share it with someone, maybe your significant other will appreciate it. Thanks so much and we'll see you next time.


Money isn’t everything, but it does affect our well-being (and therefore, our relationships). In this episode of Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian, our hosts discuss how talking about money can lead to stronger partnerships—whether you’re years deep in a relationship or dating around.

Bright and Brian cover:

  • Why arguments about money aren’t always about money
  • Tactics couples can use to strengthen their joint relationship with money
  • When to bring up the topic of money when you’re dating
  • How to have an effective conversation about money with your partner


If you enjoyed this podcast, subscribe or drop a rating or review in your podcast app of choice! Share it with your friends and family, too. 

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial,or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial,or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.