Money makes the world go round, but unfortunately it can be the cause of significant stress in our lives and in our relationships. Differences in opinion regarding joint or separate bank accounts, lack of communication on saving versus spending on large purchases and differing financial goals can lead to strain on a relationship. In fact, a study published in Couple and Family Psychology states that 36.7% of study participants and at least one partner from 55.6% of couples said financial problems were a major contributor to their divorce.
According to Ramsey Solutions, a top financial education program, clear and open communication about goals, dreams and values is the key to getting on the same page as your partner regarding finances.
It can be scary and difficult to talk about money with your partner and you may not know where to begin. Here are a few questions to get you started:
WHAT ARE YOUR MONEY GOALS?
Your dreams and your goals are closely tied to money, so discuss what you want to save for. What are your dreams for the future?
HOW WILL YOU COMBINE FINANCES?
Consider your preference of joint or separate bank accounts and the implications of both decisions. If you decide to do split accounts, discuss how you will pay for joint expenses such as household bills as well as large investments such as a home.
WHAT ARE YOUR MONEY TENDENCIES?
Determine if you and your spouse are savers or spenders – what is your money mindset? How can you compromise in this area?
WHAT ARE YOUR MONEY FEARS?
How you were raised can have a big impact on how you approach money as an adult. Think about what you were taught about money and if there are any fears you need to address with your partner.
–>Now that you know what topics you need to cover, here are a few tips to navigate the conversations about finances with your partner.
Be honest and open about your attitudes on money.
Are you focused on making sure you have money in the bank today and your partner is focused on saving for the future? This is the time to explore potential differences in financial priorities you may have. These conversations will build a strong foundation of trust.
Take turns speaking.
Listen to each other, ask questions and take time to understand what the other person is saying. Don’t start thinking of your next response while they are talking.
Make a plan together.
Tackling money problems as a couple can make the task seem a lot less daunting – whether it is paying down debt or saving for a new car. It’s important you both agree on the plan!
Keep on talking.
Have regular chats and checkups on your finances. This keeps everything open and honest, prevents secrets, and makes sure that nothing stews into an argument down the road.
Money is always going to be there, like it or not, but it doesn’t have to be the root of all your problems. By working with your partner to communicate honestly about
your finances you can help avoid becoming a statistic and have a healthy relationship with money and your partner.