How to Resolve Money Issues in a Relationship
It’s undeniable that arguing about money issues in a relationship is emotionally and mentally draining. If only couples didn’t have to worry about money, they probably wouldn’t need to read articles like this one. But, here we are and it affects nearly all couples at some stage.
Money issues, even in a loving marriage, is as real as it is complicated. As strange as it may sound, the core problem is not so much about money as this could be solved by applying mathematical equations to arrive at a solution. The truth is, money issues are often a reflection of other underlying problems like trust, mindset, beliefs, bad habits and lack of communication between the couple.
In today’s article, we explain how married couples can prevent money from putting a strain on their relationship.
6 Tips to Resolve Money Issues in a Relationship
Discuss your current financial status with your partner.
Knowing how you and your partner are tracking financially leads to the next crucial step in resolving and preventing any financial issues. Conversations around money can be uncomfortable especially if we are dealing with overspending, debts, alimony, and other issues. Understanding where you are and where you’re going is the right step towards resolving any money issues.
Experts also agree that new couples should avoid withholding any information that may surprise their partners in the future. Make sure to bring up any financial obligations like debt, credit scores, child support and divorce settlements with your partner as soon as possible.
Find the right time to discuss money.
The goal here is to ensure that both of you are calm and open-minded when discussing any money-related issues. Check your calendars and see if you can find the best time to sit down and talk. If you are concerned about your partner’s financial decisions or money habits, then this would be the perfect time to speak up.
The worst time is when there’s an unexpected and avoidable bill that comes in, a rash purchase or a clash over spending occurs and one partner blows up because they are ambushed or angry. This is not the time for meaningful discussions, so best to talk about them early on.
Agree on general spending limits and budget.
To ensure that you don’t go beyond your budget, agree on spending limits and rules. For example, you and your partner can agree on a certain amount to spend (say, $80) without informing the other. Beyond that, then it’s better to inform your partner in advance before purchasing anything.
This has been said before but we’ll say it again—you will never go wrong with keeping a budget. A budget allows you to track your income and expenses on a regular basis. There are tons of budget spreadsheet you can find on the web or if you find it more convenient, download a budget app like Mint to help you track your spending, find high-yield savings options and run credit score. Find whatever works for both of you and one that you will find useful.
Know your partner’s perspective about money.
Most of the arguments between spouses may seem, on the surface, about money but the reality of it is that it is not. Clashes in personalities and mindsets can often lead to conflict. The problem is not that they can’t afford a certain lifestyle, it could be that one person is brought up in a conservative background and resents the fact that the other partner spends excessively.
It’s very important that you understand how your spouse sees money or how they were raised around it. What values did their parents teach about money? Were they lavish spenders or thrifty? Did their family discuss about money? What is your partner’s thought on your finances? Answers to these questions can help you better understand how your partner treats money.
Allow yourselves some space.
Some spouses may find it too restrictive when they constantly have to defend every purchase they make that their spouses do not approve of. This is why we recommend that each spouse have their own budget for optional items of their choice.
This can be a discretionary fund item on your family’s budget that each partner can spend however they want without having to report to each other. It gives each spouse a little bit of freedom while staying mindful to their budget.
If everything doesn’t work, get some help.
If money fights are a regular occurrence in your marriage–one that can blow up anytime soon, you might want to get some help from a third-party expert to help stay you on track. Some couples may find it beneficial to enlist a financial planner to guide them in sorting out their financial problems. There is no shame in asking for help if you think this will be your last resort to bringing harmony and respect back to your marriage.
Resolving Money Issues through Communication
Relationship experts agree that in order to have a healthy marriage, spouses should share a common ground–similar values, mindset, habits, and attitudes–not only pertaining to money but for every aspect of their marriage.
That sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? But it is possible to share a common ground between you and your partner. What matters is that you both have a common vision of what you want to achieve and how you manage your finances, without restricting each other’s freedom.
When conflicts arise, partners should be able to keep the communication lines open for a healthy discussion to take place. If you need any help in starting a discussion about money with your partner, we’d like to invite to get an early access to our How Game are You? Money Edition cards, a suite of game cards that promote real-life conversations around money for couples. To receive sample cards and be advised of the launch dates, pricing, etc., just add your details to the form at the very bottom of this page.