Have you noticed how money often becomes a controversial topic that sparks arguments with your partner? Then, you are not alone. In fact, a study from the University of Tennessee reports that money is one topic couples consistently clash over.
Maintaining financial health in a relationship extends beyond your bank balance—it represents an understanding, mutual support, and collaboration between two people. Neglecting this can lead to financial disagreements, stress, and money issues, overriding the joy you share in the relationship.
Let’s dive into the top 7 strategies to safeguard your financial health in a relationship. By implementing these, you'll not only secure your investments and assets but also pave your way toward financial success and lead a relationship free from financial disputes.
1. Establish Financial Boundaries
Financial boundaries protect your financial territory. You don't have to disclose every financial detail to your partner. Stock Yards Bank's data suggests that part of your monthly budget should go into personal savings—an aspect of personal finance that not only gives you control but also freedom.
That way, you save money for your individual needs while lessening the chance of financial conflicts. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about retaining a reasonable sum in your respective accounts.
2. Collaborate on Budgeting
Despite maintaining your personal finances, it's essential to team up on a joint budget for shared expenses as part of your financial planning. Discuss the necessary expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, etc., and you and your partner decide on a spending limit.
As highlighted by AICPA research, conflicts often arise from differences in opinions on what is necessary (needs) and what is desirable (wants), alongside how to allocate funds. By crafting a well-defined budget, you can avoid potential misunderstandings when spending money.
3. Plan for Financial Setbacks Together
No one can predict the future—but we can prepare for it. An essential part of financial health as a couple is building savings to manage the money situation and prevent needless stress during unforeseen events like accumulated debt. Aim for at least six months of living expenses in a joint account so you can feel more secure about the future.
4. Communicate about your Retirement Plans
Retirement planning is extremely important, both as individuals and together. As a couple, envision your retirement. Where do you dream of living? What hobbies or activities do you want to pursue? If one partner has a higher income, how does that play into things?
Likely, you won't be perfectly aligned on everything, but that’s okay. It's a huge step that involves open communication and, often, expert advice.
You may decide on one account to pool together retirement savings or different plans might work better. This isn't just about the here and now; it's about future-proofing your happiness as a couple, too.
5. Shared Loans? Think Twice!
If your relationship requires borrowing a huge amount, take a moment to discuss the implications of taking a joint loan. As Moneysmart discovered, if one person fails to pay, the other bears the whole burden, which can create problems.
Think twice before signing on a loan solely for your partner, such as a business loan. It could leave you shouldering the entire debt.
6. Consider a Prenup or Financial Agreement
Prenuptial or financial agreements, an aspect of legacy planning, aren't just for the rich and famous. They are necessary for those with considerable assets who are either thinking of starting a relationship or planning to combine finances with a partner.
A financial agreement helps protect your property, savings, other assets, and even your joint bank account from being unfairly split if your relationship breaks down. In simple terms, this agreement lays out who gets what. Plus, it also makes it clear if either you or your partner will give or get financial help.
Before signing such an agreement, an open talk about money with your partner is necessary. Beyond this, you both must seek expert legal and financial advice. For the agreement to be legally binding, both have to sign it. Understanding what you're getting into is crucial and helps foster a healthy financial relationship.
7. Establish a Routine Financial Meeting
Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of maintaining financial health in a relationship. Make it a habit to talk about your finances, debts, and spending practices regularly. It's also important to review and adjust your shared budget as needed to effectively manage bills and stick to your financial plan.
Since 69% of Americans in a relationship have had disagreements over finances, these open conversations on money habits are essential. Regular meetings will keep you both on the same page and allow you to tackle any financial issues before they hit a boiling point. Remember, compromise is key to successfully managing any disagreements that might arise.
Some Extra Steps to Strengthen Your Financial Bond
While the above seven steps form the bedrock of solid financial health in a relationship, here are some additional tips for you to consider:
Develop a "Yours, Mine and Ours" System
One effective way to manage money without toe-stepping is to employ a ''Yours, Mine, and Ours'' system. Here, you both contribute a predetermined share of your individual income to a joint account (Ours) to cover shared expenses. The rest remains in personal accounts (Yours and Mine) for individual spending.
Be Honest About Your Financial Situation
Dishonesty about finances can poison a relationship fast. Be open about your debts, income, and personal spending. It portrays trustworthiness, and it's easier to plan your combined financial future when all the cards are on the table.
Create Financial Goals Together
Creating shared financial goals can bring you and your partner closer. It could span buying a house, planning a vacation, or starting a joint business venture. Making these goals explicit is crucial since ambiguity breeds confusion and might spark disagreements.
Respect Your Partner's Money Personality
Money is a sensitive topic that can build or break relationships. Understanding and respecting your partner's money personality is vital to co-existing harmoniously. You might be a saver, and they might be a spender. Addressing these differences upfront and crafting your budgeting systems around them will help mitigate potential monetary disagreements.
Money matters can cause quite a bit of tension between couples. Nearly half of the arguments arise from misunderstandings about spending priorities, distinguishing between needs and wants, and those surprise purchases that should have been discussed. By having open and honest discussions about finances, you can find a middle ground.
The trick to handling money is to draw the lines from the start. Work together to plan a budget that caters to shared expenses and ensure you're keeping enough money for the unexpected. Want to save more money? Well, that's where mutual savings goals come into play.
Planning for the future goes beyond retirement. It's vital to be proactive about potential pitfalls like managing loans and debt. And let's not forget too quickly about legal matters. No one likes to bring them up, but considering something like a prenup can save headaches down the line.
Break the stigma and get talking about finances in your relationship, as your financial compatibility relies on frequent and open communication about your money management habits.
Ultimately, it all boils down to how well you and your partner handle money and make financial decisions together. That's where the true wealth in your financial journey lies.