Couples have a tendency to start out their relationship believing that love alone will be enough to get them through life’s problems. As long as you have your love and each other you can face anything, right?
The unfortunate truth is that after a while, stress from work, family, but most especially fights about money start to break away at that belief. It’s no secret that money is one of the biggest deal-breakers for any relationship and one of the leading causes of divorce.
Divorce, or ending your relationship over money troubles, doesn’t have to be some big eventuality. You can become a couple who has a rock-solid relationship with a firm handle on finances. You simply have to make managing money and relationships a priority.
If you have a problem talking about money with your partner, you’re going to face some serious relationship struggles down the road. Openness and honesty are the keys to preventing finances from breaking apart your relationship.
If you want your relationship to be one for the books, sit down with your partner and get ready to talk money, especially if you have never had a serious money discussion before.
Use these conversation topics to start talking money with your partner. Instead of letting money break you apart, use it as a tool to ensure that you have a financially fit relationship built on honesty and shared financial goals.
Set Clear Expectations
The best way to prevent money from becoming a problem is to set clear expectations early on. Once your relationship has reached the point of having shared expenses (or the possibility of shared expenses), you need to sit down and hash out how you think it will work best for your relationship.
When setting clear money expectations, ask these questions:
- Will one person be in charge of managing the money? If not, how will you split the responsibility?
- Should you have joint or separate accounts?
- Are you going to separate the bills?
- Is there a certain amount you’d feel uncomfortable having your partner spend without first consulting you?
Setting boundaries and expectations early on will do a world of good to help prevent fights about finances. Whatever you decide works best for your relationship, just make sure that you are on the same page. Money itself isn’t the cause of fights, after all. It’s the breakdown in communication.
Create Financial Goals as a Couple
Have you clearly outlined your financial goals together as a couple? How will you know what you’re working towards if you’re walking blindly together into the future? Just like you make plans for a life together, you should make plans for money together, because the two usually go hand in hand.
Money helps you accomplish the things in life that are most important to you. So sit down and discuss at least a few of the following:
- What’s your biggest financial goal as an individual?
- What’s your biggest financial goal as a couple?
- What are you working towards, and why are you saving?
- Do you want to retire early, or do you enjoy your work enough that you want to keep working as long as possible?
- How much money are you and your partner willing to set aside for retirement out of each paycheck?
- Where do you see yourself 10, 25, or 50 years from now?
- Are the money decisions that you’re making going to help you accomplish those goals?
Talk About Money Regularly
Don’t let money become the elephant in the room. Confront your financial issues head-on by having a scheduled time each week or each month to discuss money, financial goals, and budget issues with your partner.
Try to build finance “date nights” into your routine. Order your favorite food or cook your favorite meal, turn on some music, and enjoy each other’s company while talking about money.
Having a relaxing, calm setting to bring up money problems and talk openly about your budget or any money problems you might be having will bring you even closer together.
So, analyze your budget by looking over the last month’s numbers together, and use your finance date to strengthen your relationship while you manage your money.
Don’t Hold Money Grudges
Try not to hold grudges about money mistakes. You’re human. Your partner is human. Learn from the money mistake and move on. Holding grudges won’t do any good. They’ll just drive a wedge between you and cause even more finance arguments down the road. Forgive but don’t forget. Learn from the experience and carry on with your relationship.
Use Money to Strengthen Your Relationship
No matter if you have been dating for two years or married for twenty, openness and honesty about money is the key to living in a money drama free relationship. Don’t let finances put a wedge between you and your partner, use money as a tool to help bring you even closer together.
Even if you decide to have completely separate finances, as long as you set those expectations early, and agree on a method for managing money, you will be able to help keep your relationship strong and impervious to fights about money.
Check Out Bloopers from Episode 3!
Thought this post was great? We aim to make our podcast even better, and usually, there are a few slip-ups. Check them out on this blooper reel from our latest podcast:
Are you in a relationship? How often do you and your partner talk about money? Do you have any tools that help you manage both money and relationships?