Did you know that some couples find financial conversations quite uncomfortable? According to the article published on Time.com, a lot of couples find it very hard to talk about their finances. In fact, most Americans would rather talk about intimacy and death rather than their money.
This report from the Northwestern Mutual reveals just how couples are struggling when it comes to discussing important money matters. Although it is uncomfortable, you cannot erase the fact that talking about money is very important. While couples try to avoid it because they feel like it will only lead to a fight, they are actually making things a lot worse. Ignoring financial issues is never a good thing. It does not go away just because you are not talking about it.
First of all, couples need to discuss how they will handle their household income. They have to discuss their budget and how they can ensure that all the necessary expenses are met. If both of them are working, they should talk about how much each person should contribute to the household budget. If only one earns income, they should also talk about how much the stay-at-home parent will get. After all, they need an allowance too.
All of these financial conversations should happen between couples and regardless if it turns ugly or not. That should not hinder you from talking about it.
3 tips to keep your money talks peaceful
Arguments are normal between couples – nobody is completely alike after all. This is something that we all should live with – if we want to make our relationships last. According to a study published on K-State.edu, even the healthiest relationships argue sometimes. However, it is the arguments about the money that pose the highest risk when it comes to divorce.
The truth is, it does not have to end up in a fight – at least, not always. Believe it or not, there are couples who can talk about money and do so peacefully – even if the topic revolves around financial difficulties.
Here are three important tips that should help you talk about money.
Acknowledge your financial strengths.
The first tip is to acknowledge whatever financial strength you both have. One of you may be good at budgeting while the other is good at finding great deals at the store. You need to always praise each other for these strengths and give each other financial responsibilities based on that. When you give the right task to the right person, your finances will definitely benefit from that. Do not let just one person decide. You need both inputs because you can balance each other out when it comes to managing your finances. If one is good at remembering what should be paid, then billings and payments should be given to them. If you are great at self-control, then you should be in charge of buying things for the family. This practice will help you establish a level of respect that will not immediately turn judgmental or hateful when something goes wrong.
Focus on the common ground.
As mentioned, all couples are different. However, there will always be something in common between the two of you. It just varies from couple to couple depending on how similar your characters are. But even if you are very different, you still have a common ground. You should identify what this is. The most simple that you can go for is your future. If you cannot find anything in common that will keep you from fighting during financial conversations, then focus on your future together. That can be a goal that you can concentrate on. Think about the future that you want to have together and then try to set financial goals based on that. This will help you make the cohesive decisions because you have the same goals in mind.
Learn to give.
Finally, you need to learn how to give. That is what love and relationships are all about. You need to give and take. If you have to spoil them every now and then – there is nothing wrong with that. If your budget can afford it, why not? This is something that you should naturally do for a loved one. If you have to make certain sacrifices in order to give your partner what they want, it might just be worth it. Just make sure that both you feel the same way about it.
A saver falling in love with an impulsive spender is not something unheard of. It might be more difficult to have financial conversations if you have different money management styles – but that should be expected. You just have to make sure that your conversations will be done with love. Not only that, try to implement the three tips mentioned to make things peaceful.
How to avoid financial infidelity
Infidelity comes in many forms. If you want to keep this problem from ruining your relationships, make sure you guard against all forms of infidelity. Two of the common types of infidelity that can destroy you and your partner involves people and money.
According to a survey done by CreditCards.com, 13 million Americans admitted to having secret bank accounts or credit cards. The poll is something that does not shock financial counselors and even relationship experts. The experts believe that this secret account is not really an indication that some couples are up to something bad. Apparently, some people hide an account from their partners because they have different opinions about how money should be handled.
Obviously, this is not a sign of a healthy relationship. In fact, it is already proof that you are committing financial infidelity. If you cannot be completely honest with your partner about your money, your financial conversations will be irrelevant. A mistake that results from that infidelity might cost the trust of your partner – and probably even separation.
In order to avoid this, here are some rules that you need to follow.
- Set clear rules. It is okay to give each other room to make financial decisions – but the rules have to be clear between the two of you. For instance, you can both make decisions about how you will spend your income as long as it is only 10% of your current take-home pay.
- Know each other’s passwords. If you trust someone, you do not have to use the password but this is a great way to assure each other of your fidelity. Not only that, it will actually force you to not keep any secrets.
- Make financial decisions together. You also have to exhibit the same authority when it comes to making decisions about your money. This can be something that you will include in your financial rule book. There are certain decisions that you can do on your own but there should be those that you have to consult with the other. Major financial decisions should never be done alone. This way, you both know what you are getting yourselves into and you will not end up blaming the other if something goes wrong.
- Have regular financial dates. Finally, you should set financial dates – regularly. This will allow you to have financial conversations that will help you make the right decisions about your finances. It is also a great time to bring each other up-to-date about certain financial obligations that had been aside to either one. As you spend quality time together, this is a great way to discuss potential financial problems – without immediately having to fight about it. Calling it a “date” should set the right tone.
Financial conversations between couples are unavoidable – but it does not have to be something that you will dread. Just remember that you will both benefit from good financial decisions – the same way that you will suffer from the bad ones. Be smart, truthful, understanding, and respectful when you are handling finances as a couple. Problems may come but if you both love each other, the financial difficulties will make your relationship stronger.