When two people start dating, they talk about all sorts of things; music, hobbies, sports, favorite foods, movies, religion, family and parents, careers, and of course, sex. However, there is one topic that never seems to get any attention until it is already a problem in the relationship. Money is the one thing that sabotages the majority of relationships. Yet, people do not discuss their spending habits or inquire about their partner’s until there is cause for concern.
So, why is it so difficult for couples to discuss money and spending? The main reason is because money has such a different meaning to so many people. For some, money symbolizes power, to others it is the path to security and happiness. Whatever it means to you and your partner, it can be the difference between happily ever after and dissolution of property.
Still, many people have no idea how to approach the topic of money with their significant other. These tips should help to make the process a little smoother.
The ideal time to talk about money and spending is before a problem arises. Sit down together and calmly discuss spending and future financial goals.
Do not try to discount your feelings; if you have never relied on others and been financially independent, it will be difficult to accept help. Additionally, if you have more money or assets than your spouse, you may resent your partner’s loose spending habits. Hiding your feelings will not change them and will eventually cause deeper issues.
If your partner does not know how to begin, start with your own thoughts and feelings. This will ease the tension and help him volunteer his perspective. However, do not expect to be in complete agreement; you must both be willing to negotiate. Talk about how parents and other family members dealt with money in your household and how it affected you.
If it is virtually impossible to talk about finances with your partner, it might be necessary to consult a counselor or therapist. Do not assume the problem will go away; it will simply fester.
Draw up budgets and savings goals; decide what to spend and what to save each month. For many couples, having a defined system keeps things on track.
Divide and conquer
When all else fails manage money separately. Decide who pays what and leave it at that. Some couples have such differing ideas about money that there is no common ground, so rather than dwell on it, focus on your own assets and move on.