20 Money Questions for Your Partner + My Wife’s Answers

Good morning, money nerds!

I recently came across an old quiz from a post called 20 Money Questions to Ask Your Significant Other. These 20 questions are designed to bring couples financially closer together by understanding each other’s past, present, and future thoughts around money.

It’s not just for new couples. Even though my wife and I have been together for 10+ years, we went through these questions recently and found some new and fun things about each other! Having the same financial mindset is important to us because we can achieve our goals faster as a team vs individually.

So if you’re up for the challenge, grab a bottle of wine one night this week and hit up your significant other with these questions.

(And just for fun, I’ve included my wife’s answers. Gives you more insight into my other better half, plus you’ve heard enough of my crap recently. 😉)

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1. What’s your first money memory?

At the store one day when I was little I remember my older sister was asking mom to buy her new clothes. I was extremely nervous about my parents spending money, because growing up I believed that my family and I were on the verge of being homeless. (We weren’t at all!) I’m not sure if this was a cultural thing with my mom always penny pinching or just some weird kid stress.

2. Did you know how much your parents earned when you were a child?

Again, I thought that we were on the brink of homelessness growing up. I think I started to get the real picture in middle school when my dad brought home a big-screen TV one day. I rarely got new clothes or toys as kid, I always had hand-me-downs from my sister. So the fact that my dad could buy a brand new large TV had me thinking that we were doing better than just OK. I never knew my parents’ salary and was taught it was rude to ask people.

3. Did your family have a budget? How did you feel about it?

No, my family never had a budget. My mom just never spent any “careless” money. Any money that we did spend was seriously scrutinized. If I did want something like a toy or fancy outfit, my parents would tell me to ask for it for my birthday or Christmas. Probably about 50% of the time I would get it if it wasn’t too expensive.

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? What did you do with it?

No, I never got an allowance. I kind of wish that I had and was taught how to budget out what I needed. Instead I was taught just don’t spend any money — ever. And when you do … feel guilty. But, I was very fortunate. For example if I wanted to go to the movies as a kid with my friends, my parents would give me just enough to buy the ticket and I would be expected to give them back exact change.

5. Did your parents fight about money?

Definitely, my dad would want to spend a lot of money on random things like toys, boats, cars etc. and my mom would be against all of it; she didn’t want any luxurious items.

6. What money habits did your parents practice? How did you feel about those habits?

The basic money habits of my parents was mom saving all the money and dad spending all the money. Seemed normal to me… I guess I felt fine about it. Seems like a waste of energy now that I’m older, like wouldn’t it be easier just to get on the same page and not fight?

7. What drives your financial decisions?

Our budget. All our wants and needs are budgeted for. And our lifestyle. “Our” as in my husband and I. We are fortunate enough to make decisions based on what we want in our life, not just what we need. 

8. If you won $1 million today, what would you do with the money?

Probably put whatever we need towards reaching our FI number early then give the rest of it toward clearing our families’ mortgages and helping other people (family/friends/community) get to their FI-number faster.

9. What’s one money habit that you admire about me? (i.e. your significant other)

You taught me about investing. Before you, I was just a money saver… I would’ve been working for my entire life if I didn’t start investing.

10. If I (your significant other) lost $100 on something and didn’t tell you, would you be upset with me? How about $1,000?

Yes of course I’d be upset. We have a very open communication relationship so the fact that you wouldn’t tell me is the most hurtful. It doesn’t matter the money amount.

11. What scares you about money?

The stock market scares me. Mainly because it’s something that’s not tangible. I know it’s there, I know it’s growing, but I can’t physically see it. No matter how much my mind understands how it works, I always have a little bit of anxiety about is that money real? Where is it right now?

12. What do you wish you knew more about?

I would like to learn more about budgeting with children. That is a very personal area though, and most of my friends that I’ve asked have completely different views on how much children cost. For example, one of my friends said that it costs $40,000 a year to raise her child. Another of my friends (who lives on the same street) is raising three children on a teacher salary! Obviously people do it differently depending on their priorities and resources.

13. What would it take for you to feel happy about money?

I do feel happy about money already. It’s the tool that is making my way of life doable.

14. What does having money mean to you?

Having money means work/life balance. Working in a field of my choice, not for income.

15. What are you comfortable telling about your money? Any debts that are important to know?

I was extremely spoiled growing up. I had college paid for and family that supported whatever field I wanted to go into. No debt :)

16. What are you working towards? What dreams do you have (1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years)?

I consider my job now as part-time. I absolutely love this work load. I enjoy my work days, I also enjoy my days off. If I continue to like this, I will keep going for probably the next five years. After that, who knows? We might be FI by then. Possibly go back to school, possibly stay at the job I have. Or go travel! My 5 – 10 year dreams change consistently, I have a long bucket list.

17. What do you want to leave behind (for kids or others)?

The ability to have free education. Also, if we have kids I want them to have some travel experiences while we are a young family. Leaving money behind for them isn’t as important as teaching them life skills.

18. Do you expect to get any inheritance from your family?

Most likely. But I’d really rather them spend it all. 

19. What would you want to happen to your money if you died?

I’d like to donate most of it.

20. Do you expect to support your parents or other loved ones in the future?

Yes. But most likely not financially. I expect to have my parents live with me at some point. 

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Welp, there you have it. My wife is spoiled yet frugal, both a happy worker and freedom-focused, who wants to travel more and invite my in-laws to live with us one day. Lucky me?

Would love to hear some of your responses if you care to share …

Make it a great day,

Joel

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11 Comments

  1. Impersonal Finances August 23, 2021 at 11:32 AM

    What a productive exercise! I love the answer about losing $100–it’s not about the money, it’s about the communication. Very insightful!

    Reply
    1. Joel August 23, 2021 at 2:38 PM

      Teamwork makes the dream work!

      Reply
  2. David @ Filled With Money August 23, 2021 at 10:38 PM

    Now we know more about her! I was surprised that you would be hurt if Joel didn’t tell you that he lost money.

    I personally do not like to talk about winning / losing money as I found that talking about it either makes me feel worse that I lost money or makes my ego inflate to a stage where I can’t control it if I made particularly absurd money that day.

    However, that’s not blaming or faulting you, just saying it in matter of fact terms. To each their own!

    Reply
    1. Joel August 23, 2021 at 11:04 PM

      I actually had a dream the other day that I won the lottery and didn’t tell anyone, not even my wife. Then for the next few weeks I went around doing massively nice deeds for people. Weird dream!

      Reply
  3. Christine August 24, 2021 at 7:46 AM

    Great exercise! I am definitely going to save it. I did pre-marital counseling with my now husband (which I highly recommend to anyone thinking of getting married) and it covered some similar questions. If nothing else, it helps the person answering them realize where their money anxieties, habits, and beliefs come from. I realize that I have anxiety about my husband spending a lot on groceries because seeing a large grocery bill takes me back to when my mom would try to get the best deals and have a food budget that it was bad to go over . It seems like “too much” even though I’ll spend money on other stuff like food delivery which makes less financial sense. I think even when a couple agrees about financial goals, little stuff comes up that surprises you.

    Reply
    1. Joel August 24, 2021 at 9:46 AM

      Absolutely! I love taking surveys and answering questions – even if it’s not a couples exercise. Just being self aware and realizing your own beliefs is so helpful. Thanks Christine!

      Reply
  4. Olaf, the Mile High Finance Guy August 24, 2021 at 12:47 PM

    This is a fun idea, I will have to give it a try with my partner! The honesty your wife shared about the stock market is commendable. In private this is easy to say, but knowing it would go on this blog is another thing entirely. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Reply
    1. Joel August 24, 2021 at 2:25 PM

      I think many people are scared of the stock market, and have a hard time believing in things they can’t feel and touch. probably more common than we think!

      Reply
  5. Gary Grewal August 26, 2021 at 6:51 PM

    These are the kinds on interviews we need to see more often Joel! If only these were the kinds of questions asked on shows like The Bachelor, viewers would start to think it’s ok and normal to have financial conversations with their future partner…at least it would provide good entertainment!

    Excellent choice of questions. I’m glad I included a chapter on conversations for couples to have in my book as it doesn’t happen nearly enough.

    Also, kudos for having an open and honest relationship about money with one another.

    Reply
    1. Joel August 26, 2021 at 8:34 PM

      If they asked these questions on The Bachelor, viewers might think it’s normal to spend $800 on dresses and suits and whatever weird stuff people show off on TV these days :). But yeah, I think we should definitely normalize these types of conversations between partners!

      Reply

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