We’ve all heard that communication is the most crucial thing that can make the biggest difference when it comes to relationships, right? Why is it stressed so much? You see, communication is more than just talking about your feelings because someone made a comment that you didn’t like. It is one of the basics when it comes to being in a relationship with someone; if you guys can’t communicate then what exactly are you doing? In this particular case, we will be discussing/communicating financial responsibilities in a relationship.
Did you know that one of the leading causes of divorce is due to financial problems in the relationship? Either finances were never discussed or they were, but both individuals had two different finance management styles that clashed. Sometimes one partner ends up carrying the relationship from a financial standpoint and it adds a weight on their shoulders, while the other still continues to be irresponsible with their spending. Although there are always case by case basis, finances need to be discussed to avoid future conflict, especially if you are planning on getting married, living together, already are married, or saving for a mutual goal. As a disclaimer, there are those couples who do have one person who is the one who is financially responsible for everything and they have their own agreement on how things will work, but that is a whole other story! This is for those who have not discussed this subject at all, or are avoiding it! Hey, maybe you need to give some of your close friends some advice that keeps complaining about what their partner is not doing!
So, what can be done?
This first part will be for someone that is early on in a relationship or looking to be in a serious one; find someone that is on the same page as you as far as a financial standpoint. Of course, if you are just at the beginning of the relationship this won’t really apply to you, but make sure that you are screening your future to-be partner as someone who is financially responsible. Pick someone that is likely to be on the same financial mindset as you, as far as is how much money is being spent, your budgeting method, and how much they are saving or investing. It is even more important to know if you or the other person is spending more than they are earning because that means that you will always be tight on money, if not behind on bills. If need be, don’t be embarrassed to check to see how your financial health is doing, there could be some things that you may need to work on before getting in a relationship.
Secondly, this doesn’t mean screening from someone with big bank accounts and lots of savings, it simply means to not put yourself in a relationship with someone who you may be financially burdened by. Yes, you can be in a relationship with someone that makes more or less than you, but what counts is that you guys are on the same page at the end of the day. Consider the following:
1. Do you have a spending/budgeting plan together?
Do you and your partner have a savings plan?
Are you or your partner investing your earnings on anything?
Here are some key things to have a healthy finances in your relationships:
Sit down and talk about financial goals and values.
Many couples often neglect or avoid this step, even though it seems obvious to do so. Being that talking about finances may be uncomfortable, something like this may often go unspoken about and the individuals don’t tend to think about it individually. Both may have goals and values when it comes to money, but it is not broken down into specific goals; one person may want to be frugal to save for future goals and the other might like to spend and enjoy things. Having this talk doesn’t have to be difficult, simply tell your partner you’d like to sit down and have a talk about the future. Talk about your goals and how do you work together as a team to achieve them.
Separate emotions from financial talk.
From your first talk about financial goals and the weeks following, it’s important that both
of you remain calm and not get hurt/upset by any of the issues. Often financial problems are tied to different kinds of emotional issues stemming from childhood or issues of security. It is important that you untangle them and focus on your financial goals and habits. Don’t blame the other person and be negatively critical; keep an open and respectful discussion. Remember, it is a team effort about how the two of you are going to meet your goals.
Develop a system for finances that works for both of you.
In order for you to put a financial plan into action, you need to figure out how you will be paying your bills, depositing into savings, paying debt, and have money for various spending needs (groceries, eating out, etc.). Make sure you keep your financial system ( Excel, QuickBooks, etc.) up to date to make sure you’re in balance. You can split the responsibility of updating your accounts according to your schedules or whatever works best for both of you.
Stay positive and be honest.
Always keep in mind that you are a team. You have the same goals as a couple and a big one is to be happy. You should help and encourage one another. Stay away from blaming or making negative comments towards your partner, as it is a learning process and will take time to get to where you want to be. If you maintain a positive attitude, you will succeed as a team and meet your goals. Stay focused and communicate!