Conflicts around money are the number one reason why couples get divorced. While it’s impossible to be in agreement with your partner about every aspect concerning your finances, you can prevent money issues from breaking your relationship apart.
Here are four questions you and your partner need to ask each other —
What are your childhood memories around money?
Did your parents tell you money was bad or good? Did your parents argue about too little or too much of it? How you deal with money is formed when you were very young. Access those unconscious ideas and bring them to your consciousness. If you don’t deal with these money demons, and everybody has them, they’ll run your financial life, not you.
How do you deal with credit cards and loans?
Are you in debt? The only few debts that make sense taking on are possibly for your home, car, health, education, or a business venture. Try to never use your credit card except for when you have to, such as plane tickets and rental cars. By being judicious about when to use cards, you’ll automatically save 30%. Studies show that credit and debit cards don’t have the same psychological impact as paying with cash. Plastic isn’t real. Greenbacks are. Put the cards away, even if you’re seduced by the airline miles that you’ll accumulate. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they’re free.
Who’s in control of the finances?
You or your partner? How do you split up the responsibilities of bill paying and investing? Do you alternate your duties? Try to meet at least quarterly with your partner to go over your financials. Discuss what’s working and what’s not. Money is an emotionally charged topic since it’s about survival. Most couples won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. So, money remains the elephant in the room. Over 50% of couples don’t have wills or discuss estate planning because they can’t bear the upsetting feelings that the topic brings up. Even if the quarterly meetings you set up with your partner end up in arguments, don’t avoid them. They will get easier the more you have them.
How affluent do you want to be?
How are you saving for your retirement? How long do you want to keep working? Do you want to keep accumulating wealth by continuing to work or would you rather simplify your life, downsize, and retire early? When is enough, enough? There are so many questions that you might need some help from a financial advisor to resolve them.
Money talk is gut-wrenching. Over our decades of marriage, my husband and I have had some of our ugliest moments discussing money. Fortunately, the more we keep confronting our money demons, money-talk is one of the catalysts that have made our relationship healthier and less dysfunctional.
It’s a rough road that you and your partner will have to take sooner or later. Have the courage to walk the money-talk journey now.
Budgeting is key to financial well-being. If more money is going out than coming in, life is hard.
If more money is coming in than going out, life is easy. What could be simpler? In this blog I walk you through a budget system that takes less than a minute a day to implement. Check it out here.
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