With today being Valentine’s Day it is time to reflect on how much money impacts relationships, especially having a healthy, long term relationship. Do you know your significant others money personality? Do you know their complete financial picture? These questions and more are important to understand when building a long term relationship.
Why are financial matters so important to discuss early on in a relationship?
Money issues are still given as the number one reason that marriages end in divorce. Many times, having an honest discussion at the beginning of a relationship can be helpful. Overlooking financial habits in your partner that are upsetting is not a good foundation for a long term relationship.
When should couples start discussing financial matters?
You probably shouldn’t discuss credit scores on the first date but as the relationship moves to being more serious, start talking about easy subjects such as their level of student loan debt or credit card debt. Maybe even what they spend their money on when not with you.
What are subjects to discuss if the relationship becomes more serious?
As you feel more comfortable with where the relationship is heading you should then move into discussing each other’s current financial situation in depth. This is when credit score and current net worth are important to understand about each other. You don’t want to find out after you are married about a financial situation that could stress your marriage from the very beginning.
What are some of the bigger reasons married couples have relationship difficulties related to money?
One of the biggest, yet easy to address is the feelings about when each other needs to be consulted on a purchase. Some people think anything over $100 should be discussed. For others that limit is $1,000. If you don’t talk and agree on the amount that is okay to spend without talking to the other person, it creates friction that can grow over time.
Do couples have to have similar financial habits to have a successful relationship?
Most definitely not. There probably are as many couples who are polar opposites on financial matters as there are those who agree on everything. The key is understanding your differences and being willing to work together towards a common goal and making compromises.
Why is developing a long term financial plan so important for couples?
A long term plan helps couples make everyday financial decisions easier especially when they have different money personalities. Also, if the plan includes a roadmap on how different goals will be accomplished – retirement, vacations, major purchases, education – even different personalities can be reassured that it is the right decision.
What is the most important advice for couples to avoid money fights?
When it comes to financial matters, it’s not about getting your way or winning, it’s about doing what is best financially and emotionally for the both of you. Don’t keep score. You are a team and each decision is a point for the team, not you or your significant other. With that mentality, money troubles are less likely to happen and if they do, you can quickly find a way to make it a win for the team.