The Problems with Couples and Money
When are couples going to stop going down the same path and start moving toward a better financial future with one another?
We all know the facts about couples and money. Money creates tension between the two love birds. It has become sort of a cliché that relationships end because of money issues. But these issues could be avoided if couples had a better understanding and education on how to make a financial relationship work.
When looking behind the scenes of couples, you usually find two people with two different money personalities. One is more of a saver and the other a spender. One is more of a risk taker and the other wants security. In addition, both parties watched how their parents dealt with money, which has an everlasting effect on their own handling of money. So we have these two joining together to become one. After saying “I do”, reality sets in at some point down the road and their finances bring about something akin to the clash of the titans. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
What can couples do to bring harmony to their financial relationship? When I coach couples, I coach them on taking out the Y of Your and bring to life, Money on Our Terms. It is you, me, and our money. There is no one party controlling over the other. It is a joint partnership with an equal voice.
Here are four main areas on how to make that joint union work:
1. Financial Communication: The quality of your relationship is based on the quality of your communication. Would you believe the majority of couples dread talking about money? In a world where you can’t live without it, most couples find it hard to talk about it. You have bills for your house, car, food, clothing, utilities and entertainment, so make it a pleasant experience. Welcome talking about money into your relationship, knowing it won’t always be the easiest conversation, but entirely necessary.
2. Acceptances: Accept each other’s backgrounds and personalities around money. There is no, “It’s all their fault” here. The more you can accept and see how each other thinks, feels and handles money, the easier it will be to work together. That person you love is not you and you are not them. Work together by understanding one another.
3. Debt: Couples are drowning in debt. Today, it is so common and easy to rack up tons of debt through credit cards, student loans and car loans that couples are having a hard time staying afloat. Debt is by far the number one issue for most couples. If you want your relationship to work then stop overspending with money you don’t have. Common sense is to live within your means, get smart about money and create a budget.
4. Planning: Having a budget is the best dose of medicine for your financial problems as a couple. What does a budget do for your relationship?
It gets you communicating
It gets you working together as one
It gets you planning for the future
It gets you on a plan to pay down debt
And it puts you in control of your spending.
Have a budget each month. You don’t need to use any sophisticated software or spreadsheets in the beginning, unless you thrive on those sorts of things. You can begin with a pencil and pad of paper. The main thing is to do it every month.
This is the groundwork I start with when coaching couples. There is more involved as I dig deeper into each individual situation. But as long as the couple is committed to making the necessary changes that are causing friction in their financial relationship, there is a good chance to bring harmony to the relationship. So put the odds in your favor by understanding, and living with Money on Our Terms.