Love and money don’t always go hand in hand. It can be the cause of countless arguments especially since most of us have different money styles. However, with a few guidelines to promote better money communication, money can become a source of joy within a relationship rather than a stress inducer.
As with most areas of our lives, a healthy relationship is built on open communication. The financial part of our relationships is no different. This means that both of you need to come clean about what you owe, your credit report, your spending and your income. Be honest, because it will eventually come out. If you haven’t already, run a credit report together. Do you know your partner’s financial goals and investing styles? Some questions to ask include: Does your hubby want to save for the beach house while you are squirreling away for the long-term care insurance policy? Are you a risk taker and is your partner conservative? Is one of you a spender and another a saver or a worrier? If you don’t know the answers, find them out! This will affect your spending, saving for retirement and investing and you want to make sure you meet in the middle.
It is perfectly natural that you and your husband will have different styles. The challenge lies in merging them. If you keep your accounts separate, you can start by opening a savings account together. Each of you can contribute a pre-determined amount every month and the account will have a purpose (i.e. vacation, new furniture). While you are at it, schedule a money date with your partner on a regular basis. Bring a bottle of wine and get together when you are both not angry and upset. After a while, you won’t need to make it so formal and you will find yourself looking forward to conversations about your finances. If you are constantly fighting about the bills, here are some suggestions on changing that dynamic in your relationship. Put your bills on autopilot. Unless you have tons of free time (if so, I'd like to meet you!), it gives you one less thing to talk about on your money date night! In your relationship, does just one of you pay all the bills and take care of the finances? Switch places for one month. See what happens.
Very often, money becomes a source of contention within a relationship because we are used to doing things a certain way and aren’t communicating properly. By including money matters as part of your regular conversation, you will start seeing more financial success in your relationship!
Galia Gichon, Founder of Down-to-Earth Finance, demystifies personal finance – particularly to women – through unbiased financial education. With over 14 years experience in financial services and an MBA in Finance, she does not manage money or sell investment products. You can subscribe to her weekly e-mail newsletter at DownToEarthFinance-On@zines.webvalence.com for smart tips to save more money and independent advice about mutual funds and retirement. She can be reached at 212.734.0433 and http://www.downtoearthfinance.com
Written by Galia Gichon
(Copyright Down-to-Earth Finance LLC 2006)