Being in a relationship might seem like its all about the romance, flowers, and chocolates at first, but to have a sustainable long-term relationship, you need commitment, communication, and trust. Forming a financial partnership is also key to having a healthy relationship.
Many couples may think money isn’t a point of concern. You spend from what you earn and your partner spends from what they earn, right? Wrong! People in long-term relationships, especially when a couple decides to move in together, need to figure out their joint finances to avoid ending up with a broken heart.
Fights about money are one of the most common causes of strife in a relationship and even one of the leading causes of divorce! Before you panic, here’s some good news. You can avoid these problems if you just take a moment to find out what they are and deal with them before they drive a wedge between you and your soulmate. Here are 6 of the biggest money problems to look out for:
1. Financial infidelity
Financial infidelity can sometimes be as devastating to a relationship as an actual cheating spouse. Financial infidelity is defined as one partner lies about money-related matters to the other. This could about hiding purchases, debt, or even personal assets. According to a survey by The Ascent, 71% of the 1000 people polled said they had committed financial infidelity at least once.
Unplanned purchases and debt obviously put an immense financial burden on a relationship, but beyond that, it can cause the loss of trust that extends to other aspects of the relationship as well. It can also hinder you from reaching relationship milestones like buying a house that you were both looking forward to.
You and your partner need to make a decision to steer clear from being dishonest about money and stick to it!
2. Being Too Controlling or Judgmental
Money is a very sensitive issue, which is why it is so rife for causing trouble in any relationship. While making a joint financial plan, it is important to respect your partner’s desires without judgment. Putting a budget in place does not mean controlling each and every bit of spending your partner can make. But unfortunately, this is exactly what happens in a lot of relationships.
Being too rigid is what leads to financial infidelity in the first place. In fact, The Ascent’s survey revealed that 65% of men and 47% of women have wanted to make a purchase that his or her partner wouldn’t allow. You may not understand the value of something your partner wants to spend money on, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important or valuable.
Keep in mind that this does not mean you both should spend whatever and whenever you want and neither is allowed to question the other. It just means being a respectful and responsible partner in your financial relationship. To do this, you can decide on a certain amount that each of you is allowed to spend on whatever without being judged for it. This way, you can allow some leeway while making sure it still works within your budget.
3. Avoiding Conversations About Money
Talking about money isn’t a very comfortable conversation, so most of us tend to avoid it at all costs. This is a huge mistake that is only setting the stage for a massive blowout at a time in the future.
Having regular conversations about money is an important aspect of a relationship. You should check up on changes in each other’s income and expenditure, track your joint budget, etc. This way, you can avoid surprises and disappointment and make sure you are on track to reaching your joint financial goals.
Set a time for this conversation, perhaps every month after you both get your salaries. Brace yourself and remember to go into the discussion with an open mind!
4. Failure to Compromise
Just like with most aspects of a relationship, finding a compromise is very important to make sure that you do not have finance-related problems. They say that opposites attract, and this seems to be true in a lot of couples.
In fact, this can be a good thing too, especially when it comes to money. If you are a big spender and your partner is a saver, you can balance each other out. But this can only be so if respect each other’s choices and don’t try to impose control over each other. In other words: compromise!
If neither party is willing to compromise, then there’s no saving grace for you. Have long discussions, especially related to big financial decisions and long-term goals and come to an agreement that works for both partners.
5. Not Having Joint Financial Goals
As much as you would like to keep your life separate, it is no longer possible when you are in a relationship. In fact, the combining of two lives is the beauty of finding your “one true love”.
Your life goals will now have to fit in with another person’s life goals. Decisions like getting married, buying a house, having children, traveling abroad, etc. involve two people. As we talked about earlier, making these goals will also involve a fair bit of compromise. You will need to make a budget that leads you towards these goals and may even need to make sacrifices to get there. But at the end of it, you will have a goal that both of you are happy with and are working towards.
6. Not Keeping Separate Accounts
This piece of advice seems to go against everything we’ve talked about so far, but hear us out! Of course, being in a relationship means that you are accountable to each other when it comes to most aspects of your life, but not every single decision you make needs to be consulted with your partner. Yes, even when it comes to money.
Of course, things, like paying rent and buying groceries, should be a joint effort that falls in line with your budget, but you can have your own account for “fun things”. This way, you can also ensure that this extra expenditure doesn’t end up eating into your joint finances. For example, if you like to golf with your friends or your partner loves relaxing at spas, you can both do that with your own accounts without it affecting your joint finances.