Relationship Solution Series: Money
Money can be a source of friction in your relationship. Avoid issues early on by having a serious discussion about finances.
Be honest about your current financial situation. If things have “gone south”, continuing on the same path or lifestyle is NOT realistic.
Don’t approach the subject in the heat of battle. Instead, set aside a time that is convenient and non-threatening for both of you.
Acknowledge that one partner may be a saver and one a spender. Understand there are benefits to both and agree to learn from each other’s tendencies.
Don’t hide income or debt. Bring financial documents like a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, debts and investments to the table. If you are buying a home together, the “money” talk becomes extremely important.
Don’t blame. Instead, construct a joint budget that includes savings. Meet with a third party if you need help and are both spenders!
Decide if one person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills or if you will take turns.
When both parties are familiar with the monthly income and expenses —“buy-in” will occur from both parties and future financial planning will be easier to achieve.
Allow each person some independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her
discretion. You could also set a limit to what each can spend without the other person’s approval. Setting these limits/boundaries in the beginning will help to keep everyone honest.
Set short and long-term goals. It is ok to have individual goals but setting partner (or family goals) is also very important.
Have a safety net. Unexpected challenges, like illness, home repairs or employment changes, can happen to all of us. Protect yourself. Set aside 6 months mortgage/living expenses to help get you through.
Last but not least, talk and plan for your parents financial needs as they age. How will you handle their financial needs if something comes up or medical issues ensue.
Money issues can be delicate. It is tough enough handling them on your own, and adding someone to the mix can create misunderstandings and conflict. The more you plan ahead, the better you and your partner will be when life “deals” you a blow in your wallet.
Still need help setting up a plan for your finances? Consider reaching out to your Best Care EAP for help and support. A professional counselor is available for you and/or your significant other at no cost to you.