The Beatles had it right back in the sixties with their hit “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Money has been known to be both a spark and an extinguisher in many relationships. Some choose to avoid the conversation all the way to the altar thinking that finances aren’t romantic. Nearly 40 percent of troubled relationships claim finances as the primary cause; over half claimed it as a secondary cause. So how can committed couples effectively handle the money conversation and still keep the love?
Be Honest about Your Past
Each person has his or her own style and way with money, but the only way you can try to bridge two different styles is to be honest about your financial past and future. Discuss your values and relationship with money, how it scares you, why you’re aloof to it, and even how your parents saw money; if you are able to share your thoughts, fears, issues with money openly, you are giving your relationship a chance to be a success story.
Make a Commitment
Once you’ve made a commitment romantically, make one financially. Promise that you’ll both take responsibility for your finances and putting yourselves on better financial footing by paying down debts and actively preventing a financial setback from becoming a disaster by implementing a savings plan.
Make Smart Plans
When you’re making your financial plans, make them S.M.A.R.T., specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If you’re making $100 per month, there’s little chance of saving $1,000 in 3 months. Plan some time during the month to assess and possibly adjust your goals by reviewing your budget. Encourage each other and stay focused and motivated.
Assumptions about who’s doing what or how much money you really have available can cause friction. Remember that just because you’re both currently working doesn’t mean you have a lot more to spend. In a tough economy, things can change quickly. Keeping eyes on your finances minimizes confusion and reduce the risk falling prey to the kind of slow building resentment that kills relationships.
Understand Your Rights
The laws vary by state, but understanding your responsibilities as individual income earners as well as a two-income household puts you on the path to achieving financial security, which can come in handy when you need it.
Setbacks happen and it’s important to be supportive and remember the love you share. While you can’t change feelings that were built by your experiences, you can make sure you accentuate the strengths you bring to the relationship so that you can find the solutions that work for you.
Readers Bureau Contributor