Whether you're in a new relationship, about to move in with your partner, or headed down the aisle after years with a significant other, you should make it a point to talk about money.
Why is talking about money so important? Because it's a major reason for breakups. According to a 2015 study by SunTrust Bank, 35% of people surveyed said money was the primary cause of relationship stress.
To avoid running into money-related relationship problems — or worse, deal breakers — here are five red flags to watch for.
1. You or your partner consistently overspend
Splurging on a night out or a new pair of shoes every now and then is nothing out the ordinary. But it might become a problem if you notice that your boyfriend or girlfriend constantly comes home with shopping bags or that new packages are always waiting for them. (Or ... ask yourself if you might be an over-spender?)
Overspending could signal a bigger problem, like a shopping addiction or an inability to control impulses. And it can easily spiral out of control into debt and major relationship stress.
2. Your views about money are totally different
Your husband or wife saves every dollar that doesn't go toward bills. You think, "What good is money if you don't spend it?"
How we think about money is incredibly personal. Often, it has a lot to do with how we grew up.
Because money can often shape our experiences in life, being financially compatible is important. Having different values when it comes to making, spending, and saving money can be a signal that your life priorities are not in sync. For example, maybe you want to put your tax refund toward debt but your partner wants to take a cruise.
Different views don't mean that your relationship is doomed, but you should take it as a signal to have some in-depth discussions about your individual visions of your life as a couple.
3. You or your partner are regularly unemployed or job-hop
Being unemployed or job-hopping doesn't necessarily have a bearing on who you or your partner are as a person, but when you're in a relationship, it can be a difficult situation to navigate.
This is especially true if one person in the relationship is taking on a bigger portion of the financial responsibilities — a situation that could lead to a lot of resentment. Talk to your partner about whether unstable employment is just a symptom of a short-term career rut, or whether it's a long-term issue.
4. You or your partner lie about finances
Lying about finances is not just a little white lie.
If you plan on living together or getting engaged, lying about or hiding a credit card bill could be a bad sign.
However, keep in mind that money issues are often connected to how you grew up. Perhaps you or your partner saw your own parents lying about money.
Lasting relationships tend to be based on trust. Talk to your partner about why they (or possibly you) felt the need to lie about money. Discuss how important it is to be honest — even if it means coming clean about an embarrassing debt.
5. You or your partner are in denial about your debt
Has your $50,000 student loan debt gone largely ignored? Or maybe your partner gets a monthly credit card bill that they throw in the trash?
When you're in major debt but not doing anything to get out of it, it's a warning sign that money-related troubles are brewing. This kind of debt can come back to haunt you and your partner when you're house-hunting, purchasing a car together, or making any kind of big life decision.
Whether you're coupled up or not, tackling your student loan debt in a strategic way is a good first step toward taking control of your finances. Learn more about how to reduce your monthly loan student loan payments.