Money issues seem to be the number one source of conflict for most couples. You are 4 times more likely to flight about finances than kids, jobs, housework or friends. One scary statistic from Consumer Affairs states that 1 in 5 Americans have spent $500 or more without telling their partner. YIKES!
The impact that constant financial stress can have on bank accounts and relationships alike is real. Obviously, it is important to be on the same page when it comes to making financial choices. Make your love compound with interest with these financial habits:
1. Have “the talk”
Sit down and discuss your spending values and financial goals. In the beginning, just start spitting out different things each of you wants — a house, kids, college education for the kids, a healthy emergency fund, new cars, vacations, fancy clothes, gadgets and computers, etc. Then prioritize to see if you can come up with things in common. If you want different things, it’s important that you talk about why.
2. Be open and honest
Make it a safe space to talk about each other wants and needs for the future and the now. Remove judgmental and defensive tones from the conversation.
3. Make a long-term plan
How does each of you see yourselves meeting your goals? This will take into account your joint income, your debts, your savings, retirement planning, whether you want to cut back on certain things in order to meet your goals, and so forth. This plan will help align your daily and monthly spending with your long-term goals.
4. Develop a budget
In order to put your financial plan into action, you’ll need to figure out where your money is going and what’s left over for savings and various future needs. Create a system that works for you both (spreadsheet, online budgeting program or apps) and take responsibility.
5. Schedule a monthly financial date
To avoid problems down the road, make it a date to check-in with each other and discuss your finances regularly. Use this time to review your accounts, your spending plan, what is coming up that you’ll need to budget for, and where you are with your goals.
6. Remember that you’re a team
Be encouraging, stay focused on solutions not blame, and make sure love is the foundation of everything you do. If you always stay positive, you’ll succeed financially.
Some couples need an unbiased mediator to facilitate the financial conversation. Contact Member Services to advise your financial planning and keep the love alive.