There comes a point in every relationship where you have to have that talk. Yes, the money one. But given the huge role money plays in all of our lives, it's a critical topic to discuss when getting serious with a significant other. Yet, lots of couples put off this talk in fear of that awkward conversation. According to a survey done by digital financial service Ally, nearly half of the 1,000+ U.S. adults surveyed don't believe they've effectively communicating finances with their partner.
So Ally is changing the conversation around money and making it easier, and even a little fun, for couples to have those talks before they walk down the aisle or commit to a lifetime together. Ally has created the Financial Vow Generator, a fun interactive quiz that asks couples about their spending and money habits. (Try it here!)
The quiz is funny, direct, and to the point, starting with the hard-hitting question: Does "splurger, super saver, or shareholder" describe you best? Other questions include "the last thing I spent money on without telling my partner was a...," and "a goal I hope to save for with my other half is a...," so that the two of you can discuss these difficult topics in a fun way.
Depending on your answers, the generator creates hilarious financial vows, so you and your partner can promise to respect each other's money habits. The company also offers couples the Financially Open Bootcamp, a three-part activity guide that provides conversation starters to positively discuss finances in a healthy way.
One couple who took, and swears by, the Ally Financial Vows is U.S. Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Breanna Stewart and her new wife, retired WNBA player Marta Xargay. During a Zoom interview, the couple opened up to Brides about the importance of having those sometimes slightly uncomfortable money conversations because, at the end of the day, it's imperative to your relationship.
On Open Communication
"Whether they're dating, engaged, even married—hopefully if you're married, you've already talked about finances—couples [should] have an open conversation about money," Stewart tells us. "When we [her and Xargay] first started talking, we were just going through these specific things of having a joint bank account and splitting everything else."
Xargay added that there's no way to avoid finances when building a life with someone, so it's best to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your financial situation and spending habits.
"In the end, if you want to create a life or want to have a family together, that's going to be a part of your life," Xargay says." So for us, it was just a thing that we have to do, a topic that we have to talk about and be open and honest."
And these money conversations helped the couple realize who played what role in the relationship—Stewart being the splurger and Xargay being the saver, but having these tough talks has led the couple to respect one another's habits.
"I think we all have those moments," says Xargay about splurging from time to time. "Sometimes, I still have them. Maybe we will spend the money differently or on different things, but we are OK with it. I’m OK with the way she spends our money, and she's OK with the way I do."
On Their Whirlwind Year
The pair is now happily married and putting their well-communicated financial talks to the test. And it's a good thing they're well equipped for everything life throws at them because the last few months have truly been a whirlwind for the athletes. Stewart proposed in May; they tied the knot July 6; Stewart then traveled to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, where she and the U.S. Women's Basketball team took home the gold medal. Days after Stewart arrived home; the couple welcomed a little bundle of joy, their daughter Ruby.
When asked how they have managed this year, Stewart tells us they like to stay in the moment and have time to themselves to relax and work on their relationship. But she added that being at the Olympics with a baby on the way was overwhelming and not something you can really prepare for.
On Becoming Parents
"One thing that was always in the back of my mind was, 'Ruby could come any day,'" she says. "So it was a little stressful on that end. Sometimes I'd have these moments where I'm like, ‘Oh, she's been born.' But it was great to have everything work out so perfectly, I don't think I could’ve done it any better. We won a gold, and now I’m back home with my family."
Despite both of their immense successes in the sport of basketball, they don't plan to steer Ruby in any direction in terms of her career path or after-school activities. "Whatever makes her happy, whatever she wants to do, we will support that decision," says Xargay. "That that's how our parents [were] with us."
Regardless of what she chooses, they just want her to know that money doesn't come easily; it comes from hard work and determination.
"[Money] doesn’t just like come on trees," says Stewart. "You have to work for it. Hopefully, [we'll] show her that if she wants something, to save up to buy it. Marta and I are in a super amazing position, we've been super successful, and that is why we can be splurgers if we want. Right. And making sure Ruby knows that that's not how we started."
But Ruby already has one bougie item that her moms splurged on just for her: a Gucci diaper bag. "She needed it," laughs Stewart.
On Wedding Planning
Although they've had a busy year, the couple still has more to look forward to. And while they did just get married, they're waiting to have their big wedding once the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over. And one thing they're in agreement on splurging on? The food.
"I just want the food to be amazing," says Stewart. " A donut wall, pizza station, and whatever else, all those things are coming."