According to Business Insider, money matters is one of the leading reasons people seek couples counseling. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person, and listening when they share their own, is an essential part of a successful relationship.
With that said, talking about money matters with your significant other can be more difficult than you might think! Luckily, there are ways to ease into this conversation and work through it as a team.
Are you ready to get on the same page as your spouse or partner when it comes to money? Here are seven things you can do to keep your relationship and finances on track.
1. Establish Goals
One of the biggest problems couples have is having different expectations. When reality is different than your expectations, you can quickly become unfulfilled and unsatisfied with your partner.
If you’ve always thought that you have to take elaborate vacations every year to be happy, you may be disappointed if your partner prefers buying a new car instead of traveling.
Don’t let unrealistic expectations cause money problems in your relationship. Do you plan to buy a new home, relocate or have children? Mapping this out can help shape your spending and saving habits.
For example, if you think you may be relocating in the next five years, it sometimes makes more sense to rent an apartment than purchase a home.
Make these decisions together, ahead of time. Don’t assume that your partner wants the same things that you want.
2. Evaluate Your Current Financial Situation
Although this may be a hard conversation to have, it is important that you are open and honest. Financial infidelity can be just as devastating as an extramarital affair. If you have a secret bank account or credit card, it’s time to come clean to your partner.
Withholding information about your money problems, bad credit or any debt you have could end up being devastating for the relationship in the long run. However, there are ways you can work together to get out of debt and push toward a brighter financial future.
There are several ways to save money and thrive as a couple. Consider some cheap date night ideas like going to the park or having a game night. This is a great way to have fun with your significant other without breaking the bank!
3. Create A Budget
It is a good idea to create a budgeting plan that helps you meet your goals. This way, you can track your monthly spending and other expenses. You should review your spending plan and accounts every so often and adjust for upcoming items or activities you might need to budget for.
As a couple, it is essential to have a savings goal embedded in your overall plan. As we all know, life is not always perfect, and things happen. If you or your partner were to lose your job, having money put away can help relieve stress while looking for a new position.
There are also mobile banking apps that have an automatic savings feature, ensuring that you are regularly setting aside a portion of your income. If you ’re planning to spend the rest of your lives together, it is important to keep the future in mind. This could include investing as a couple. Be sure to do your research before investing in stocks or retirement funds.
Once you have done your research and chosen which investments work best for you, settle on a contribution amount that you’re both comfortable with. Issues can arise if one partner feels they are contributing more, so it is best to sort this out before making any decisions.
4. How To Handle A Difference In Salaries
In most relationships, one person probably makes more money than the other person. Maybe one of you is a stay at home parent that contributes childcare instead of money to the relationship.
Problems can arise in any relationship no matter what the difference is in your salaries. Some couples are competitive with each other, but when it comes to money, you want to be on the same team.
If one person thinks they have the upper hand because they make more money, then you’re headed for trouble. You’re stronger together; if you set financial goals and work towards them together, you will both be happy.
5. Understand Your Partner’s Spending Habits
In most relationships, one person is a “saver,” and the other is a “spender.” Opposites tend to attract; one person wants to live for today, while the other is saving for tomorrow. To avoid issues you need to keep the lines of communication open. Set aside some time each month to go over the budget and discuss your financial goals.
You don’t want one person handling all the financial issues on their own while the other one is out shopping and having a good time. You both have a say in how you spend your money. Both of you need to participate in decision making to avoid money problems.
6. Live Within Your Means
Stress causes you to have a shorter fuse and to anger more quickly. To avoid the stress that debt causes live within your means. If you can’t pay cash for something, then you can’t afford it. Don’t run up your charge cards trying to keep up with the Jones’s.
Be happy where you’re at and stick to your budget. In time you’ll reach your financial goals, and you’ll maintain harmony in your relationship.
7. Don’t Spoil The Kids, Teach Them Financial Responsibility
Buying your kids everything they ask for doesn’t benefit them or your relationship. Set aside money in the budget for the kid’s needs and wants. Come to an agreement together on how much to spend on the kids and stick to it. Issues arise when one person feels that the kids have to have the best of everything.
Discuss the budget with your kids, help them understand why spending spontaneously isn’t a good idea. Many marriages have ended because one person accumulated huge amounts of debt buying unnecessary things for their children.
Kids need your love and attention more than they need the latest video game. Your kids will be much happier if their parents aren’t fighting about money all the time.
Money and relationships can be a wonderful thing, and communication is one of the most crucial parts of a successful relationship. If you are at a serious stage in your relationship, it might be time to have an open discussion with your partner about money matters. This is a great way to show trust in one another and build a financial future together. This post was written in collaboration with Chime.