It’s no secret that money and stress (and stressing about money) can put a strain on relationships. Money issues are so common and troublesome that people who say they’re experiencing stress in their relationship cite finances as the number one reason. Financial issues are responsible for many breakups and divorces, despite how much or how little money the couples have. I’ve put together some tips on preventing money from ruining your relationship:
Stop Keeping Secrets
Keeping secrets from your significant other can send you down an unfortunate path. According to Forbes, roughly six million consumers in the U.S. have concealed financial accounts such as checking accounts, saving accounts or credit cards from their significant others. Just under 20% have secretly spent $500 or more without telling their partner. These secrets are a recipe for disaster. Hidden accounts, incomes and purchases can be a hard thing to tell your partner about, but not telling them is even more damaging. They may be upset when they hear the bad financial news, but it’s much better than the constant stress and risk of them finding out later. Relationships are built on trust, and poor communication about finances can break them down. Instead, have an open conversation about the financial difficulties and come up with a plan to manage them.
Build an Emergency Fund
Emergency funds are incredibly important, and even more so when you’re working towards a common goal as a team. Unexpected expenses pop up all the time and not having an emergency fund can be a huge financial burden, or even lead to debt for both of you. It’s a good idea to have three to six months worth of expenses saved away. This can cover unexpected vehicle repairs or medical bills, and even pre-existing expenses in case you find yourself out of work. If you simply can’t save that much, put as much as you can away. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Work Toward a Common Goal
As time goes on, people’s financial exceptions and priorities change. That is completely normal and expected. However, many couples forget to check in with each other to make sure they’re still on the same page. It’s a good idea to sit down a few times a year to discuss what you’re working toward, whether it’s a new vehicle, a home or even a wedding. Create a budget together and stick to it.
Start a Joint Account
You tend to work together on expenses when moving forward as a couple. Housing costs, utilities and caring for children are all joint efforts. If you know you’ll both be splitting the costs of more expenses, consider opening a joint account at your local credit union. This can prevent issues where one person makes the payment, but the other forgets to pay their share. This doesn’t mean you can’t still have your own account as well. You should get together with your significant other and decide how much should be contributed to each account. You can have your own spending money, but have all major expenses covered with the joint account. Remember, no secrets!
Remember the Golden Rule
Treat your partner as you would want him or her to treat you. It seems very simple, but it’s something than many couples forget to do. Arguing about money is very common. When or if an argument starts, remember to take a step back and take a deep breath. Treat each other well, make a plan and move forward.
What do you do to prevent financial stress as a couple? Let me know!