Having a lot or a lack of money can affect a relationship. Money can be the cause of conflict between you and your partner, especially if both hold a significant difference in perspectives about money. It all boils down to personal values, compatibility in mindset and goal setting, as well as joint planning.
To strike a balance between maintaining a healthy relationship with your finances and your loved one, you should first look at what money means to you and your partner. Is money a tool that provides your basic needs, or freedom to live the life you desire? Is lack of money causing you worry and unhappiness?
Instead of putting all your attention on how bad your financial situation is and worrying about how you are going to pay your bills, put your energy into expanding the good things you have right now, such as a home with mortgage paid off, a full-time job, or an approved home loan to purchase your first house together. Focusing on the good aspects of life will alleviate your frustrations and worry. Moreover, using the time to work things out with your partner on how to improve or maintain your financial situation will help sustain a meaningful and healthy relationship.
Consider how you can avoid money-related conflict with your partner by taking the following advice:
Communication is the key
It is vital that both you and your partner acknowledge and accept the money-related problem that needs to be addressed. It is best to go through all your bills, credit card statements, bank statements and other financial documents together so that both have a clear understanding of the financial situation both of you are going through as a couple. Information such as salary, debt load, inheritance, savings and credit status need to be made transparent to each other.
Discuss each other’s spending habits and work out how the extravagant partner can curb his or her spending. Financial matters that are made clear to you and your partner will give rise to an awareness of your partner’s perception of your values and spending habits, and in turn leads to planning for future needs. This means making a conscious effort to cut down on spending or produce more income through part-time work or leasing a room in the house.
Joint or separate accounts?
As a couple, figure out how you want to handle your money. Should you both hold separate accounts or a joint account or have both? The decision made will depend on factors such as the financial situation, spending habits and credit rating of both you and your partner. If there is a significant discrepancy in each of the factors mentioned, it makes sense to keep separate accounts. A fair option would be to have a joint account for household expenses and utilities, and separate accounts for individual spending money.
Having the notion that the man is the sole breadwinner is passé. Nowadays, dual-career couples tie the knot and it is not uncommon to see the woman earning more money than her husband. What is most important is that both you and your partner share the same values on money and life; otherwise, keep the line of communication open to discuss expectations and future goals with each other.
Protection of assets
It is advisable to keep the financial accounts and assets each spouse owns before marriage in separate names. Should the marriage fail, this will protect each spouse’s share of assets. Pre-nuptial agreements are not uncommon these days amongst couples who take precautions to protect the assets they have accumulated through years of toil, just in case the marriage goes south.
Couples should help each other to keep track of their expenses and make an effort to change their spending habits to avoid debt accumulation. In addition, they should work together to attain a common goal such as buying a house or saving for a vacation.
One way to do so is to include all expenses on a spreadsheet and work out a proposed budget to stick to. Constant reminders and acknowledgement from each other, as well as occasional rewards for each other, are effective methods that couples should adopt to help them work towards improving their financial standing.
Being empowered by your thoughts and feelings, acknowledging the good things you already have and appreciating your partner put you in a strong position to create a financial goal while at the same time sustain a loving relationship. Conflict arises when you let money enslave your thoughts and feelings resulting in insecurity, anxiety and frustration.
Focus on positive thoughts of appreciation for being able to meet life’s basic needs, to keep your mind free from financial stress and worry. Making a joint constructive effort to improve your current financial situation is the surest way to maintain a healthy relationship.
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