A few years ago, the  Modern Love essay “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This” went wildly viral.

The essay was based on a study by psychologist Arthur Aron that seemed to show how closeness between two people could be sparked simply by having them ask a series of specific, intimate questions.

Mandy Len Catron, the author of the Modern Love essay, tried the experiment with her date. “I liked learning about myself through my answers, but I liked learning things about him even more.”

The 36 questions are grouped into three sets, each is deeper than the last. Exposing layers of vulnerability brings people together. But so does sharing what each person admires about the other.

“One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.”  –  The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness Questions study

Relationship Happiness = Talking About Money

The negative impact of financial stress on close relationships is well documented. For example, 59% say finances played somewhat of a role in their divorce — and 20 percent said it played a big role.

The best way to avoid this conflict (besides infinite money) is, of course, communication. Couples are happier when they talk about money – even when the conversation is difficult and embarrassing.

Inspired by the original questions about love, we’ve assembled 36 questions to ask your partner about money.

Use them to playfully talk about your financial priorities, pitfalls, and dreams. You’ll learn what causes both of you stumble, but also what you value most. And together you’ll map a shared definition of financial success.

What you learn about your partner might be surprising. But what you learn about yourself might be even more surprising.

Note: thankfully, staring deeply into your partner’s eyes for four minutes (as required by the original 36 questions) while you ask these questions isn’t required


  1. What’s your financial guilty pleasure?
  2. What vices do you have that cost you more than $10 per week?
  3. Do you prefer to buy name-brand or generic?
  4. Do you buy lottery tickets?
  5. What is the largest discretionary purchase you made in the last year, and would you buy it again?
  6. What is your typical budget for a night out?
  7. Are you a saver or a spender?
  8. How many credit cards do you have, and how many have an outstanding balance?
  9. How do you define “need” and “want”?
  10. What constitutes a financial emergency?
  11. How often do you have to throw away spoiled food?
  12. What percentage of your income do you save?
  13. How long can you live off your emergency fund?
  14. Would you be willing to drive a few extra miles to save a couple cents per gallon on gas?
  15. What skills do you have that could be turned into a side hustle?
  16. Would you be willing to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” to make ends meet?
  17. Do you live to work or work to live?
  18. If you could undo one major purchase in your life, what would it be, and why?
  19. What did your parents teach you about money?
  20. Which is more important: job satisfaction or income?
  21. Would you steal to feed your family?
  22. If your house was on fire, what one possession would you try to save?
  23. What salary do you have to earn to feel successful?
  24. How much money do you have to have to feel wealthy?
  25. If you could trade everything you own for debt freedom, would you do it?
  26. If you were suddenly given a million dollars, how would you spend the money?
  27. If you won the lottery, would you want other people to know?
  28. What is your dream vacation?
  29. Would you rather have a nice house or a nice car?
  30. What is your plan to fund your retirement?
  31. What one money lesson will you teach your children?
  32. How would your life be different if you were wealthy?
  33. If money were no object, where would you live, what car would you drive, and what house would you live in?
  34. How much money do you have to have before you feel comfortable to retire?
  35. Do you want to retire early?
  36. If you could donate $1 million to any charity, which charity would it be and why?
Ansley Fender
Author

Business financial consultant, personal finance coach, tax preparer, mother, spreadsheet nerd. Visit FenderFinancialServices.com/.