Don’t fight about money because after you have said mean things to each other, the amount of money in the bank will be the same – Anonymous
Study after study has show that money is one of the main reasons couples fight. Money issues, in whichever form they take, can test the foundation of any relationship. Having the ability to manage your finances and communicate with your partner effectively could keep your relationship from becoming part of the statistics.
Partners should have what is called financial intimacy. This is the ability to openly express your wants, needs, and desires in a clear and effective way, and to be able to feel completely safe and vulnerable and know that your partner can hold that for you.
Here are a few pointers to help you keep your finances in check:
- Get Acquainted
We live in a world where the subject of money is swept under the carpet. If you lived in a family where money was a highly sensitive topic and maybe whenever you asked for something your parents asked you if money grew on trees, it is possible that you became withdrawn and did not learn how to be social about money issues. However, in order to be able to understand someone’s financial behavior you have to understand your own financial personality first. A person’s financial habits are an implausible insight into their values and ethics. A good relationship is one in which each party helps the other make better choices.
To manage money and marriage together, spouses must understand each other’s ideas about finances. While money does not buy happiness, there is a strong correlation between happiness and the degree to which our financial decisions and behavioral choices are in alignment with our deepest values, individually and collectively.
- Meet in the middle
Once you understand each other’s views about money, work with your spouse to develop a joint money strategy that incorporates both of your individual ideals. Coming together and developing common ground and new goals as a couple will help avoid conflict.
When challenged with a financial setback, retreating to your corners does not help in getting you out of the problem. Nor does finger-pointing and blame help fix the distorted balance sheet and budget. To address any money problem, you need to work together to come up with a feasible solution.
- Divide and Conquer
Do not just live from month to month, making money and paying bills. Make money management interesting by setting financial goals and achieving them together.
Don’t forget to save. A family that saves together avoids financial storm together. An emergency fund comes in handy for many families. It allows you to take care of an emergency expense without getting into debt or going broke. As soon as you have a baby, start saving towards its education as well. A good rule of thumb is to save at least ten percent of your take home pay every month. You could even set up an automatic contribution to a savings plan.
If your budget is bloated, you should go over it in detail to cut down on some of the unnecessary items until you are able to start consistently putting away at least ten percent of your earnings into savings. One way of being able to reach your goals is by living on one income as a couple for purposes of meeting recurring expenses, and use the other income to reach the savings goals you have set.
- Maintain Independence
You might be couples and loving it but don’t forget you are also individuals. Sometimes you will want something your spouse doesn’t want. While it’s good for families to have a collective savings account and perhaps pool the money for spending in the house, it’s also important to have individual accounts.
However, they shouldn’t be a secret. Withholding such information from your partner might cause problems later. Which is what you are trying to avoid. Instead, talk to each other about how much each should keep for themselves to spend or save towards their individual needs and wants.
Following these tips will not only equip you and your partner with ways to avoid relationship catastrophes when it comes to finances, but you will also see how this opens up the lines of communication between the two of you. Being able to discuss your concerns regarding issues such as finances can be extremely difficult at first, but in the long run it will prove to be the wisest and safest tactic in a relationship. Over time, these money discussions and behavior patterns become second nature, and will allow you and your spouse to place your efforts on building and strengthening your commitment around your goals.
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