It’s not about keeping the toothpaste cap on or the toilet seat up or down. It’s not about who controls the sacred Netflix account. It’s not about whether the stereo system plays smooth jazz or hard rock. It’s not even about whether to have kids (and if so, how many and how quickly). No, the number one reason that couples fight, and in many unfortunate cases, end up breaking up, has to do with money. Relationship money problems is the number one problem in relationships.
The bad news is that there’s no app, no pill, no YouTube video, no giant billboard from the Landmark Sign Company, or anything else, that guarantees that you won’t have the occasional skirmish, or even all-out confrontation with your significant other when it comes to finances. That’s just part of the deal.
But the good news is that you can dramatically lower the chances of these skirmishes from escalating into all-out wars if you keep the following tips in mind.
Talk About Money
Many couples convince themselves that everything is blissful on the financial front because there are no arguments about relationship money problems. But guess what? This peace is very superficial, because it’s rooted in avoiding the subject altogether.
Sadly, this is not a long-term strategy. Sooner or later, an issue or problem will emerge and couples will be forced to talk (or make that, fight) about finances. If this sounds like you and your significant other, then you need to talk about finances before a crisis erupts, not after, when it might be too late to avoid a total relationship money problems and breakdown.
If you and your significant other are living what the law considers to be separate, independent lives (i.e. you aren’t co-mingling assets ), then while it’s probably not a great idea, you can likely still get away with having some financial privacy.
For example, if you make a big loan to a family member or friend, you may not need to share this with your significant other. But if you are co-mingling assets and your financial lives are tied together (at least to some meaningful extent), then you absolutely need to be honest. Make no mistake: whatever secrets and half-truths have been told will eventually come to light, and when that happens it won’t be pretty.
This is going to be unwelcome news for many couples out there who are aligned in many wonderful ways, but are nevertheless incompatible when it comes to financial approaches, strategies, and plans. It’s probably not going to work out in the long-run.
As unromantic (or just plain awful) as it sounds, the truth for most couples is that unless they’re generally on the same page when it comes to money, life might become excessively difficult and stressful. For example, if you’re committed to saving a large portion of your income in order to make a down payment on a home and your significant other is committed to spending as much of their income as possible having fun or going to Las Vegas, then the story won’t end well for either of you.
Set Common Goals
Talking about money shall not only include discussing bills and expenses but it’s about setting common goals so that both the spouses are on the same page as far as the financial outlook is concerned. Otherwise, it can turn out to be a dangerous proposition because a lack of coordination in money matters would be like having two different maps for a route.
Get Rid of Separate Bank Accounts
Many couples like to have separate bank accounts as they want to have some independence regarding their expenditures. It may sound reasonable but it can result in various issues like regular money surprises. With joint accounts, there is more accountability as there are more eyes on the prize and therefore, both the spouses will think twice before spending the money.
Good luck with your relationship, and if you’re a woman struggling with your significant other about money matters (or anything else), don’t forget to sign-up for your free 15-minute relationship diagnosis to avoid relationship money problems.