Addressing potential financial conflicts early in your relationship can prevent major money disagreements later on.
Talking about money with your significant other can be awkward. Maybe you or your partner have a rather large amount of debt that you bring into the relationship, or your salary brackets are vastly different amounts, or you just have different thoughts when it comes to saving and spending habits. Any number of these different points of view can generate conflict in your relationship. But if your committed to making your relationship last, you may want to consider addressing a few of these issues now.
It’s a natural fact that most of us find it so hard to discuss money matters with the person we plan on spending the rest of our lives with. Is it because we’re drawn to our financial opposites, so we bump heads over spending and saving decisions? There might be financial secrets, such as a shopping addiction or a large amount of debt being kept secret. We may very well feel uncomfortable about our financial concerns and prefer to avoid discussing them with anybody all together.
Whatever the reason for our financial discomfort may be, getting engaged is as good a time as any to figure out a way to get over it. Not only does the wedding planning itself bring up costing priorities, such as whether it’s a 200 people guest list or a visit to the court to save money for a starter home, but post-nuptial decisions can be much harder on a couple who have never previously discussed the finer financial details. If the couple decides to a buy a home, a surprise bad credit score can unhinge mortgage plans in a heartbeat, for example.
If you’re trying to work out a way on how to broach this sensitive topic with your romantic partner, OUDS has the following advice for you:
Make a time and date
Instead of ambushing your partner with “the talk”,” set a time and date to discuss finances in advance. You may want to consider, let’s say, doing it at coffee shop, where you’re both forced to sit together and chat for a period of time.
Stop with the lies & deceit
It’s better to have never lied and deceived in the first place of course, but if you did, it’s now time to come clean.
Did you lie about how much you earn? Or that you had paid off all of your debt when you actually have a lot of monthly installments to make? You can’t hide these inconvenient truths forever, now is a good time to come clean because nothing will ruin your relationship faster than more lies and deceit.
Reflect on your upbringing concerning money matters
Maybe your partner grew up in a household where money was never an issue; while you’ve had to frugally save and work for everything you’ve needed and wanted. These kinds of backgrounds play a pivotal role in how each of you approaches monetary issues. So make sure you’re both familiar with each other’s family backgrounds.
Don’t play the blame game
OUDS cautions playing the blame game, this will end the conversation before it’s even started. Whether it’s concerning overspending or mismanaging debt, just don’t do it. Try to be compassionate instead about money mistakes the other might have made. People don’t always intentionally get themselves into these financial predicaments.
Creating a joint savings plan
You both probably have some shared dreams and aspirations, whether it’s skiing in the Swiss Alps or having a baby. Don’t fool yourself these dreams come with huge price tags. For starters, come up with a plan on how you plan to save money and obtain those goals together. You might be surprised to find that doing so draws you and your partner closer.
Divide financial tasks
The great thing about partnerships is that if you’re bad at something and your partner isn’t, you can simply give the task to him or her. It’s about knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how you both compliment each others.
So if he enjoys managing finances and she likes paying the bills, that simple division of labour can be a winning combination. Make sure that each partner plays a role in handling household finances to avoid a one-sided relationship that could cause giving one person too much financial power, or cause resentment between you.
Allow for some breathing space
Let each of you have some spending money, even if it’s a small amount, to use whenever and however you choose each month. All work and no play will definitely cause problems in your relationship; this will help diffuse potential tensions.
Tough family issues that need to be addressed
Here are some of the tough financial questions you and your partner need to discuss: would you ever lend money to family members or friends? Will there be a need in the future to care for aging parents? These will have a big impact on your partnership, discussing them ahead of time will help to avoid surprises later on.
Love and money might not always go together well, but these kinds of talks can help soothe the friction.