Barbara Corcoran: The No. 1 Thing You Should Ask Your Partner About Finances

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock (12337174c)Barbara Corcoran arrives at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 28, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States.
Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock / Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Financial discussions when dating can sometimes feel like a taboo subject, with people often withholding their most pressing concerns out of fear or embarrassment. But having open and honest conversations about money helps build trust and transparency in a relationship. 

In a recent interview with Jason Tartick around the topic of relationships, “Shark Tank” star and high-powered investor Barbara Corcoran gave her own take about the most important thing to ask your partner.

Also see what she says about housing prices.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for a Prenup

“A lot of people think a prenup is for the rich to be protected,” she told Tartick. “I don’t believe that.” 

Corcoran offered the example of her own experiences.

“I had the potential to be a money maker when I was very young,” she explained, noting that she had a prenup with her first husband. She also expressed how grateful she is to have done so as their business went from five people to 500 people in the span of their seven-year marriage. 

“My second husband, I had a postnup, because I trusted him so much until a lot of money was put on the table for my business,” she said. “I made him sign it before I signed the deal.

“I think when you introduce the idea of a prenup to younger people it can destroy engagements. But if you can possibly get through it, man, it gives you peace of mind. That’s what a prenup is. … I totally believe in them.” 

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Corcoran also recommends people not set a wedding date until they have their prenup signed first and that it includes potential income, too. “A lot of people overlook that.”

Always Do Your Research

When it comes to the top things a person should fundamentally know about their partner? Corcoran said to run a credit check right away, as well as a financial statement, if possible. Though it may sound cold, she likens it to getting your house in order so you’re on the right footing to get started with.

“I think a credit check gets a lot of dirt out of the wash,” she joked. “It opens that conversation.” 

Be Upfront About Marriage

Discussing marriage early on in a relationship can help you determine whether you’re both compatible in goals and values. If one person is looking for a long-term commitment and the other isn’t, it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

Corcoran told “The Rachael Ray Show” that if you have strict criteria you should “assess who you’re dating in the first place. Chances are you’re barking up the wrong tree, so to speak.”

Talk About Kids

Not talking about kids while dating can pose a significant hurdle when you’re getting serious. It’s one of those topics you don’t save until later.

Having the kids discussion, however, involves more than just whether or not to have children. Your talk should include financial responsibilities and the costs that will come with making this decision.

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Ultimately, the larger your family grows, the more money that will imply. You can talk about your expectations in terms of child-rearing, family planning and anything else related to the topic. Ask, for instance, who will stay at home and who will go to work. The point is to put all your cards on the table and have an open and honest conversation about these costs before it’s too late.

Ask Whether They Can Afford a Wedding

Paying for a wedding is a big deal financially. That’s why it’s on Corcoran’s list of things to ask when dating. 

Big discussions like affording a wedding should hopefully evolve naturally, but they also shouldn’t be tiptoed around. One of the first pillars of marriage often means combining finances and making financial decisions together — so this is an essential question to ask in a relationship. It also will provide insight into your partner’s financial habits, priorities and values. 

Because wedding costs can vary significantly, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of what both you and your partner are willing and able to invest in a wedding. Unrealistic expectations or financial surprises related to wedding planning can later lead to stress and conflict. That’s why discussing this early can help you both set reasonable expectations and avoid any potential financial strain down the line.

All of that said, while it’s important to be upfront and take the above into account, Corcoran reminds that “romance has nothing to do with a job interview.”

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