How to make finances a fight of the past
Here's how to ensure your and your partner see eye-to-eye about your finances.
Let’s be honest, no one actually enjoys talking about finances. It’s boring and stressful, with so much social stigma surrounding the conversation. Throwing in the dynamic of a relationship, it’s no wonder why it’s a leading cause of divorce in America.
Unfortunately, money matters in a relationship. Avoiding the tough conversations around individual and shared finances can often be worse than addressing them. We’ve put together a quick guide to building a financially healthy relationship, so you and your partner can stop your dollars dividing you.
Talk about your finances
Conversations around money have long been a hush-hush topic. Society is becoming much more open around these conversations, but it can sometimes feel a little awkward when approaching them with a partner. But think of it this way - the sooner you start the conversation the better.
Make it interesting
Firstly, try to make the conversation stress-free and enjoyable – as much as possible at least! Try making a date out of it, with a bottle of wine and a nice dinner at home, to create a relaxing environment. If that’s not your vibe, try making a game of it. Both write a list of questions on cards about finances and goals, then mix them together in a pile, and take turns picking a card and asking the question.
See your current situation
It’s rare for partners to have identical financial situations, so it’s important to be kind when discussing them, as you never know what insecurities another person may have. To understand where you’re both at financially, be open and make a list of your combined following:
Decide on your financial goals
Just as you would set daily goals, it’s important to set and agree on budget and goals - both as individuals and a couple. Be clear about what you want and when, so you can work to get there together.
Plan for both the near and distant future. Think about how you can save for a car, new sofa, pets, or even marriage. You might find that your goals are not completely aligned at first, but take time to discuss, you may find that there are things you’ll both have to compromise on to find the right balance.
Here’s a roadmap to strategizing and setting your goals:
Communicate with one another
Agree on what you’re working towards
Make your goals actionable
Create a timeline and target amounts
Set up check ins to keep you on track
Stay flexible, extending a timeline is better than scrapping a goal
Sharing money and debt
Sharing money and debt can be scary, it’s important to understand the risks and responsibilities that come with it. Take your time, don’t rush into anything unless you’re certain and know all the facts. You may also want to consider holding off sharing finances with your partner until you have a very high level of commitment. Be very cautious of signing any documents that legally give you sole or shared responsibility for another person’s debts.
Remember: you don’t have to share everything!
Making plans for the future with a partner, and sharing finances for the first time can be exciting, just remember to be cautious if one of you has more debt than the other, or if there is a big difference in your incomes Talking through some ‘what if’ scenarios may help to make sure you’re on the same page. If you run into trouble or can’t resolve issues between the two of you, seek advice from a financial counselor Remember to celebrate the small moments with your partner, and put the love back into finances.