As a couple, you discuss everything. Still, just because you talk about stuff doesn’t mean you always see eye to eye. Money is a perfect example. For lots of people, how much spare cash you have and what you want to spend it on is always going to cause a rift. Even couples who have been together for decades struggle to bite their tongues.
The key is to be open and honest and to try and address the conflict head-on. That way, you should be able to limit the damage and prevent your feelings from escalating out of control. Of course, it’s easier to say than it is to do, particularly when specific topics are close to the bone.
How do you keep your head when your bank balance is empty and you need to find ways to earn more to avoid debt? It’s not straightforward, yet it’s doable if you understand the top money-related reasons that have the potential to kill your relationship. Then, you can plan for the worst-case scenarios and invest more time and attention while communicating effectively.
To find out more about the challenges, please continue reading. Here are the top six problems that you should watch out for as a couple.
What’s Mine Is Yours?
There will undoubtedly be times when you share your money, just like you share everything else in your relationship. However, arguments can occur when you fail to talk about what portion of your finances belongs to one another. To some people, it’s annoying to see their partner spending money that they believe they’ve earned.
On the other hand, it’s harder to organize your money to the point where you cover every penny. Therefore, it’s easier to say you’ll split the bills down the middle. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, as long as nobody harbors resentment. If you or your significant other does have a problem, it’s essential to talk about it without judging one another.
A simple conversation can not only highlight how they feel but showcase some of the complexities that they have missed. For instance, the breadwinner does earn more, yet this is because the other party decided to reduce their hours for the sake of the kids. As a result, there is going to be a difference in your salaries, and that should be factored into your conversation.
There are lots of cases when a partner may have to carry the other. As well as leaving the workforce to have kids, you or your SO could have to care for an elderly relative or go back to school to chase a promotion that will benefit your lifestyle in the long-term.
Firstly, the decision to have kids can be based on your finances. You may want nothing more than to start a family, whereas your SO would prefer to wait because it could be hard on your bank balance. Although money does come into it – it costs 233,610 to raise a child to eighteen in the US – you have to speak about your desire to be a parent. After all, there’s more to starting a family than whether it will be tough monetarily.
However, it’s vital that you consider the impact and the potential pitfalls before the baby arrives. For women, the odds are high that you’ll leave the workforce for a period before returning. At that time, your earning power is going to decrease as your hours are less, so it will change your relationship dynamic.
Then, there is your retirement and inheritance to consider. Being a parent means leaving a chunk of your wealth to your children so that they have a foundation for their adulthood. Creating a living trust is a popular method as it helps you and the beneficiary (your kids) to pay fewer taxes once your estate is split up.
Having kids is a big deal, whether it’s emotionally or financially, which is why you must consider the major lifestyle impacts in advance.
Dealing with your immediate family is tough enough, and then your partner throws their extended loved one into the mix. You’re not guilt-free either, as you’ll have parents, siblings, and their significant others asking for help from time to time. You can’t watch as they struggle to make ends meet, but you shouldn’t impulsively lend money.
Yes, it is yours to spend, yet it’s polite to consult with your partner before making a huge financial decision that affects both of you. Mostly, they’ll understand and confirm that it’s the right thing to do. Still, you shouldn’t blindside them because you assume that they’ll say yes. Sometimes, it’s the principle that counts.
Sadly, you may not always be able to lend a hand when you want to. Sometimes, it could be out of your remit. For instance, if a family member has lost their job or needs a loan to pay the rent, then that’s acceptable. However, if your single mother wants a vacation, it will be a lot harder to sell to your SO.
After all, they may say, “what about our holiday?” There are levels to helping a friend in need, the first one being that you should be in need before you give them money!
Debt is one of the biggest marriage killers in the world. The fact is that it’s multifaceted. Sure, the crushing overdue balances are horrible, but so is the stress of dealing with your creditors and attempting to secure a solution. Plus, it’s easy to apportion blame. Your partner didn’t manage their money properly and now you have to pay for it, literally and figuratively.
A smart move is to brush up on your debt knowledge. In the United States, most states don’t make the other person liable, unless it’s for particular costs, such as food, child care, and housing. And, this is only after you have tied the knot. Anything that pre-dated your wedding isn’t linked to your social security number, so it won’t affect your credit rating for liability.
It’s worth informing your SO, too. If your partner isn’t sure about the state and federal laws surrounding their debt, they could begin to hide stuff from you. It’s called “financial infidelity,” and it can be as bad as actually cheating. That’s according to 20% of Americans, anyway. Once the person comes clean about their debts and arrears, it’s essential that the other person is understanding.
After all, from starting a payment plan to lending them money to pay off the creditor, there are options on the table.
The hard thing about money is that you could be a couple that is debt-free and both big earners. Yet, you may hate the way that your partner thinks and deals with the resources, and that’s enough to start a war between you and your SO. On the face of it, there isn’t anything to worry about, but underneath, you can’t help let the resentment niggle at you.
Before you make accusations, it’s crucial that you understand your financial personality. You may not be the organized, frugal saver that you think you are in your head. Or, you could be all of those things, but you need to start investing more for the sake of your family’s future. Just because you’re not a big spender doesn’t mean you’re an angel.
Obviously, it’s imperative that you know their personality, too. That way, you can spot your bad habits and address them rather than letting them spiral out of control. Also, don’t forget to build your profile so that you cover every base. Those who aren’t strong investors should try and put money into real estate or stocks and shares to grow their finances in a non-traditional way.
Saving is good, but even when you’re putting money away for a rainy day you want to do it in moderation.
Controlling & Judgmental
Regardless of your money personality, you should never be controlling or judgmental. The latter typically makes people feel ashamed and embarrassed, and the last thing you want to do is to hurt your partner. The former is different in the sense that you’ll only encourage your SO to double down.
Nobody likes being told what to do, and like a child, the urge is to rebel. The stats show that men and women aren’t always keen on what the other wants to purchase – 65% of men and 47% of women have wanted to buy something the other wouldn’t allow.
However, you must consider how a hard no could do more harm than good. Often, it’s better to highlight why you’re not happy so that your SO understands your trepidations. Of course, it’s on both parties to compromise, too. Just because you explained your feelings doesn’t mean you’re right and they’re wrong.
It takes two to tango, and part of compromising means putting up with purchases that you may not like, especially if you spend the rest of your life with somebody!
Do these money issues affect your relationship? What are the problems that you find to be the most damaging?