Jana’s lust for a hedonistic lifestyle caught up with her. Photo / Instagram
Recently, I got myself into an absolute pickle! It would appear I quite fancy a hedonistic lifestyle, resulting in some lavish trips, a new car, laptop and an expensive house move.
The problem is, I didn’t particularly want to save for it. Like any Millennial, once I decided I wanted to do something, or purchase something, I wanted it immediately.
Also, just like a typical Millennial, I didn’t give too much thought about the incurring debt. I got the credit card, I extended my car loan, I stacked debt upon debt, until during the first lockdown, when everyone’s jobs suddenly became, well … not exactly guaranteed, I had a total freak out.
How the heck did I get myself in so much debt?! Let’s be honest, I knew exactly how I did, but … sigh … it sadly all caught up with me.
It was during a stage where I was dating a fair bit as well. In fact, things got so serious with one bloke, we started talking about a holiday together. Only problem was, I had this big ol’ debt stalking me like a creepy ex lover.
Another thing you should know about me is that I absolutely loathe talking about money. I hate awkward exchanges when the bill comes out. I would rather throw a quick $100 at it and make it go away, then work out who owes what. Not great for someone who didn’t have $100 to actually throw away.
So after a year of working my butt off, I managed to get rid of my debt and chop up my credit card. Honestly, it was the best feeling in the world, and I’ve made an absolute vow to never put myself in that situation again!
My best friend was going through a similar situation. You see, her (now ex) husband liked to splash his cash around as much as me. Taking out secret loans here, there and everywhere. She, however, was a hard worker, keen saver and was a wise woman. Sadly, when all these secret loans and debt came to light it played a part in their eventual demise.
So when it comes to dating and relationships, how do you make sure finance doesn’t get in the way of a very merry love life?
On the podcast this week, I spoke to James Trethewie. Yes, he was one of the Bachelorettes competing for Sophie Monk’s heart, but he also happens to be a Yale-educated professional financial planner. Sophie even dubbed him “Tarzan with a calculator!” LOL.
I threw a million and one questions to him about dating and finance, and he explained very simply that there are three money conversations couples need to have at the start of a relationship to save a lot of drama later down the track.
They are as follows:
Find out what your partner’s history with money is like
If they’ve had a bankruptcy issue or if they’ve got a tonne of debt, you could end up taking that on down the track if you get married. It will affect whether you can get a house, a loan or a range of things. If they’ve got skeletons in the closet with their debt, you need to know about it sooner rather than later.
How do they like to spend their money?
Someone could be very ambitious, career-driven, and are keen to save for a beautiful apartment. Others may prefer a more chilled life out of the city, with a simple job, happy to live from pay cheque to pay cheque.
It’s important to make sure your financial goals are on the same wavelength or you could end up getting pretty frustrated with each other.
Find out what assets you each own
Make sure you have a plan around those assets should you break up. Because statistically you’re likely to have to give away half your finances.
Yes, it’s time to put our adult pants on and have some serious conversations at the start of a relationship to avoid nasty breakups. Oh adulting, sometimes it sure ain’t fun!
• Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends