Money. Five little letters that can cause so much trouble. In fact, it is one of the things that couples fight about more than anything else. Disagreements over what joint funds should be spent on can even lead to divorce in extreme circumstances.
Unless the world drastically changes, money will always be a part of your life. So, learning how to communicate about money is vital for a strong and lasting relationship. It is a topic that you cannot avoid, so here are some tips on how to have successful money-focused conversations.
1: Check Your Emotions
Money is tied to feelings of safety and security. So if you find yourself getting emotional it is important to work out why. You won’t be able to have a constructive conversation if your emotions are getting the better of you.
Have several conversations about your financial history and your future financial goals. Then you both know where the other one stands. It will make it easier to tackle day to day money issues that crop up.
2: Joint But Separate
Have a joint account for all your combined expenses, and each put the same amount of money into it. Then you can each have a separate account for your ‘spending money’. You each have your own little kitty to spend on what you want, without compromising the day to day funds and savings money.
3: Budget Jointly
Doing the budgeting together will give you a clear indication of where the funds are going. You will each have an honest view of your financial position.
4: Allocate Recreation Funds
Fun is at the root of every good relationship. Having a dedicated fund for recreation gives you the opportunity to keep the spark alive. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money. There should be no excuse to skip date night.
5: Know Your Spending Habits
Are you both spenders, are you both savers, or is one of you a spender and one a saver? What do you both love to spend money on, does the other one see it as a waste of money or a good investment? Figure out your spending habits and the motivations behind them. Then you can work out a harmonious way to handle each spending habit.
6: Have Goals
Set some goals for your money, these goals should be realistic and attainable. There is no point saying you want to save for a house deposit if you also want overseas holidays every year. Set a major goal and then break it down into short term goals that work towards the end goal. Share responsibility for making these goals a reality.
7: Realise Money Does Not Buy Happiness
We need money to cover our basic expenditure and bills. Beyond that, extra money is not a necessity. Some of the poorest people in the world are rich in love and happiness. Likewise, some of the richest people are ridiculously unhappy. Money should not be your main motivator. It should not make you happy or sad, these feelings should come from other areas in your life.
8: Talk About the Moolah
Regularly discuss the state of your finances so that you are both on the same page. Talk about the status of your accounts, any upcoming expenses and how you are working towards your goals. These discussions have a twofold purpose, transparency and holding each other accountable.
Hopefully these tips will keep the fight out of any talks on money. If you find that you need some help with your finances, then definitely consider speaking with a budget advisor or the relationship manager at your bank. Get the finances sorted so all you need to worry about is what you are going to do for your next date night!