When it comes to your romantic relationship, you can’t put a price on harmony. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the statistics that surround the topic of love and money. Financial matters are the primary cause for relational arguments, with many couples averaging three fights per month about money. As a result, financial disagreements are the most common predictor of a future divorce.
Why are finances such an emotional topic for many people? It’s because most of us have a unique financial personality. Some of us are savers and some are spenders. In a relationship, one partner may be conservative, the other a free spirit. These differences can cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship. As a result, many couple attempt to avoid financial conversations at all costs.
But no matter what the statistics tell us, money doesn’t have to be a stress point in a relationship. Here are three simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial strife.
1. Be Honest
Shockingly, 3 in 10 married adults admit to potentially deceitful behavior about money, and one of the top relationship deal breakers is being secretive about money. It’s crucial for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, or have joint accounts or separate bank accounts.
You and your partner should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to significant expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. Studies show that around 49% of financial arguments are about unexpected expenses. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid such confrontations.
One way to stay away from secretive behavior is to establish boundaries. Create a plan that encourages honesty and still allows for freedom. Come up with guidelines regarding how much should be spent in various categories and give each spouse some pocket money to spend as they wish. Finally, determine an amount that requires a conversation before a purchase, whether it’s $50 or $500.
2. Work As A Team
In any relationship, teamwork will lead to success. Here are some ways to ensure that you are on the same page:
Define Shared Goals and Values
While one spouse may have more of financial mind and excel at the spreadsheets and calculations, make sure each partner is on the same page and is focused on your financial goals and values. You both need to buy into the plan so that things like overspending or miscommunication don’t derail your relationship.
For example, when only one of you knows how much money has been allocated to specific categories, if the other person goes out and overspends in that category it can lead to frustration and fighting. But if you both know how your finances stand, you can celebrate reaching goals together and also brainstorm ideas to get over obstacles. Two heads are better than one.
Make a Habit of Collaboration
Even if only one of you handles the administration of your finances, set aside a time once a month to go over the nitty gritty details together. Review credit card statements, account transactions, and bills in order to stay on track with your predetermined budget. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.
3. Rely On Unbiased Advice From An Expert
Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third-party, whether that’s a financial advisor, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial advisor can work with you and your spouse to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your coverage, assist you in establishing short and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice. Some couples seek guidance from a marriage counselor for assistance with building stronger lines of communication and compromise.
Although the topic of finance can occasionally cause tension, money doesn’t have to become a constant source of strife in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.
As an independent financial planner, I enjoy working closely with couples and helping them identify and pursue their lifelong objectives. If you have questions about your financial situation, desire advice or education on investing, or have yet to get started strategically planning for your future, I’d be happy to help. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org, call 484.224.3439, or click this link to schedule a call and take the first step towards a happy relationship.
Lisa Strohm, CFP®, MBA is the founder and CEO of The Athena Network and Good Life Advisors of the Lehigh Valley, fee-based wealth management firms. She specializes in providing financial planning, investment management, and life management services for women and their families across the U.S. With more than 16 years of industry experience, she sets her firms apart from traditional wealth management companies by focusing on providing clients with an educational, collaborative, supportive experience that inspires her clients to engage in their financial lives. If you have a question, please click this link to schedule a phone call today. To learn more, visit https://the-athena-network.com/ or connect with Lisa on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Investment advice and financial planning offered through Good Life Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. The Athena Network and Good Life Advisors, LLC, are separate entities.