Dealing With Money in a Relationship
Money, debt and other financial issues are often thought of as the root of most relationship problems, the vast majority of couples have or will experience some kind of money problem at one point in their relationship. This is of course completely normal, but it doesn’t need to be the end of your relationship. Just like any other big decision or problem that might come up in the course of a relationship, debt or financial issues need to be disused and agreed upon.
If you want to avoid the inevitable fight about credit card debt, student loans and spending habits then you need to sit down and discuss all those things with your significant other, being on the same page about money is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Here are a few steps to take to help guide you towards a better financial future with your significant other.
Set Goals and Plan a Budget
First and foremost you should discuss what your goals are and what you want for the future. It’s important to understand how each of you feels about money, debt, saving and spending. You don’t need to agree on everything or have the exact same goals, the point is to get out in the open how each person feels and then create a plan around both of your goals.
Make sure you set realistic and achievable goals and take into consideration each person’s hopes and goals for the future. Once you’ve agreed upon how you see your future together you’ll need to make a plan on how to get there. This isn’t as hard as it seems because the goals you set will lead you in the right direction. For example, if you both decide that you want to purchase a house in the next 5 years then you’ll know that saving should be your number one priority. This will then lead you towards cutting back on unnecessary spending, paying off any other debts you both might have and finally creating a budget that will allow you to maximise your savings.
Just remember that you don’t need to set long term (10-15 years) goals right away, the most important thing to do is have an honest discussion about money. Setting a few simple goals and making sure you’re both on the same page will hopefully prevent money from being a major shore spot in your relationship.
Follow Through and Hold Yourself Accountable
Since we’re discussing how to prevent serious money problems in relationships, it’s really important that once you’ve set some goals that you both try to follow through on them and keep yourselves accountable. Sure you can keep each other accountable but make sure you’re not constantly nagging your significant other about their spending, this will lead to other issues.
Once you’ve both stuck to your budget and kept your goals in mind for a while it’s a good idea to revaluate the situation. Maybe some of your goals are unrealistic or maybe you’ve realized that you can afford to save a bit more each month. No matter what your goals are and whatever you learn while trying to accomplish them, it’s always a good idea to regroup after a couple of months and make any necessary changes.
Deal With Any Disagreements Right Away
So while we definitely think it’s a good idea to be on the same page as your significant other, we also understand that there will probably be some issues that you can’t quite seem to agree upon. If this is the case the best thing you can do is agree to have regular discussions about your finances. This way, hopefully there won’t be too many surprises and therefore fewer opportunities to fight.
If any issues do come up, whether it’s debt or an unexpected expense, it’s best to deal with it right away. Ignoring a financial issue will only make it worse and potentially cause a serious problem in your relationship. Keep each other in the loop and discuss any major issues or expenses, the point is to be ahead of the game so when a potential fight does arise you’ll have already dealt with it or be able to deal with it easily.
Dealing With Pre-existing Money Problems
More often than not people bring pre-existing financial issues with them when they enter a relationship. These types of issues can be the worst ones to deal with as they only involve one person. If you find yourself in this situation and feel as though your financial situation or your significant other’s financial situation is out of control, here are a few warning signs to look out for.
- Using credit all the time because you never have cash.
- Making only the minimum payments on credit accounts.
- Your credit card balances are always increasing, never decreasing.
- Requesting limit increases or opening new accounts.
- It’s become obvious that one of you is keeping secrets about the state of your finances.
If any of these examples seem familiar to you then you should deal with the issue right away, like we discussed before the best thing to do is communicate openly with your significant other. No one’s finances are perfect and no relationship is perfect so keep that in mind while you plan for the future, make your budget and deal with debt.