How to be in a Financially Successful Relationship

How to be in a Financially Successful Relationship

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated February 12, 2016

Having a healthy relationship with your loved one can take a lot of effort. However, some things in a relationship you have control over, and others you don’t. Your finances are one of the things where you can exercise some control. Follow these tips so that you can spend more time enjoying your relationship, and less time stressing over finances.

Want to learn how to discuss money with your partner more successfully? Read this article

1. Set a Date to Discuss Expenses

Time spent with your loved ones should be pleasant, and talking about finances is not romantic. Unfortunately, it is necessary. Schedule a specific time for you and your partner to discuss your financial standings. The goal here is to nip any financial issues in the bud; sometimes big financial issues can be avoided with just a little foresight.

2. Try not to Bring Emotions into your Finances

 Whenever you set a time and date to have discussions about your finance, make sure to stay on topic, and don’t drag other parts of your relationship into the conversation.  A lot of times, couples can be passive-aggressive and critical in subtle ways.  This behaviour during serious conversations is not productive as well as not being healthy for the relationship.  During your “money date”, remain objective, and try to leave your emotions out of it.

3. Share the Responsibility

Even though one partner may be significantly more financially savvy than the other, decisions should still be made together. This is especially true for large long-term financial plans. This way, if things don’t go according to plan, there will be no pointing of fingers.

4. Make a List of Each Party’s Expenses

In a way, the value of money can be subjective. Everyone has their own definition of financial security and each partner may spend their money differently.  This being said, it is important to compromise in this area. Take a look at your regular monthly costs and decide if certain unnecessary purchases are actually being treated as necessities. Also, consider major purchases you will be making together in the future, such as a car or new appliances.

5. Think about Setting up Shared and Individual Accounts

If you want to be really safe and try to ward off any possible squabbles over finances then having four accounts is your best bet. Have two joint accounts, one for long-term investments and one for short-term. Then have two personal accounts where you spend a little more frivolously, just as long as you’re able to continue to keep contributing to the two shared accounts.

6. Have a Recreational Account Together

Most couples share passions and love to experience them together. An effective way to save is to create a specific account for something you’ve wanted to do together. Saving money will be far easier when you have a shared objective. It could be taking a trip or cruise together or even just saving up to go to fancy restaurants together.

7. Both Work to Eliminate Debt

Having debt can be toxic to a relationship. If both parties have either loans or credit card debt, they should each work on trying to eliminate it. If one of you is working harder than the other to get out of debt, this can cause stress in your relationship, especially if you are looking to make larger financial investments together. It is also important not to hide debt from your partner; topics like these should always be discussed.

Learn to motivate each other to pay down debt, here

8. Be Flexible

Expect the unexpected. Just because you have an open dialogue with your partner and have set up your finances together to run as smoothly as possible, things could still go wrong. One of you may lose your job or have to take time off work due to illness. You also have to be flexible for more trivial things. For example, you and your partner could decide to take up an expensive hobby. In this case, you should re-assess your spending from your joint account. Figure out exactly just how much you will be spending on this hobby so that there’ll be no surprises.

9. Don’t be Critical

Don’t be critical of what your partner spends their recreational money on. Everyone has their own tastes and you should be respectful of that. This is the purpose of having joint and separate accounts. Being critical of what your partner spends from their individual account will just create unnecessary tension.

10. Honesty and Positivity Go a Long Way

Don’t forget that you’re a team. You should have the same goals and work towards them together. Being negative and blaming financial problems on each other is not productive. Also, never hide any significant spending that will affect both of you. Team members help each other out and encourage one another. Try to look at your finances as an extension of your relationship: healthy finances can’t help but contribute to a healthy relationship.

Maintaining a healthy relationship involves compromise and communication, and your finances should be treated no differently. You can’t plan for everything but being able to discuss your finances in healthy ways is a great first step. Being flexible, honest and positive about finances is the best way to prevent financial issues from compromising your relationship. Plus, once you get your finances in check, it leaves you more time to spend with and do things with your significant other.

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Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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