Finances are one of the leading causes of conflicts in relationships, according to studies by Suntrust Bank, and the Harris Poll.
When faced with conflict, what do you hope for? Consensus? Consistency? Cooperation? Peace? Unity? Understanding? Compatibility? With open communication and little guidance, financial unity is possible.
Together, and individually, look at what is most important to you. Consider and list your priorities. Do you seek a balanced budget? Savings? Paid bills, debts? Short or long term goals? Start by agreeing on at least one goal.
Stick with the Difficult Conversations
Open communication is key to building the relationship with money and your significant other. Speaking openly about finances can be difficult, but tough money conversations can lead to emotional closeness, which is a plus for couples.
To begin the conversation:
- Talk through your current financial situation.
- Commit to making a positive change, and keep your promises.
- Communicate in a respectful manner, accepting each other for who each is as an individual.
- Compromise – Stretch without losing yourself. Respect each other’s needs.
- Claim responsibility, and don’t blame each other. Don’t use money to try to control your partner.
- Division of duties – play to each other’s strengths. Share responsibilities as evenly as possible.
- Set aside a regular time to discuss finances.
Here are some important items to discuss:
- Basics- balance of accounts, costs of expenses, and how much can be spent each week and month, assets and debts.
- Will you have separate or joint accounts?
- Will you blend income and expenses, or have some separation of finances?
- What to do with any extra expected, or unexpected funds.
- Short term and long term financial goals – time frame, costs, and steps to reach those goals.
Remember, how you handle your finances is up to you as a couple. It’s not dependent on how your parents, or your neighbors handle their money. Find out how talking about money daily or weekly, can enhance your relationship.
If you would like additional financial guidance as a couple, LSS Financial Counseling is available for appointments, at no cost. Call us at 1-888-577-2227.
Author Michelle Style is a certified LSS Financial Couneslor.