Money, for better or worse, plays a big part in romantic relationships and all too often it becomes the thorn in the side of an otherwise wonderful coupling. It doesn’t have to be that way though.
If you resolve to work together towards financial stability rather than bickering back and forth about it life will be so much better, even if you are not exactly high rollers at this point.
Money is an issue right from the beginning of a relationship, so in coming up with this list of tips to help you improve your romantic relationship by improving your relationship with money that’s where we’ll begin.
As often as possible try to enjoy each other’s company without spending a lot of money. Swap the fancy restaurant for a picnic, the swanky holiday for a handful of day trips, the trip to the cinema for a night in with a DVD and some homemade snacks. By doing this you’ll have time to get to enjoy dating without the hassles and worries over affording to impress your new love and still be able to pay the rent.
Pay attention to your new partner’s financial habits. Just because he’s charming, great looking and endless fun to be with does not mean that he is very fiscally responsible. It sounds very unromantic to start thinking this way, but as so many arguments between couples stem from conflicting spending habits it is best to know what you are dealing with right from the start.
Many couples fall into living together rather than actually planning an official move. First, the toothbrush stays, then the clothes begin piling up, then before either partner realises it the cat has arrived too and somehow, they have all ended up living together.
From a fiscal point of view, however, this is a terrible idea. Who is going to pay for what? Are you going to add the new roommate’s name to your lease? And what would happen to your home, and its contents, if things don’t work out? All of this should be discussed before anyone gives up their pad.
Be careful if you decide to borrow money together too. Even if it’s just a loan from his/her Mum make sure you are clear about each partner’s responsibility for the debt. Without a formal agreement, it is hard for unmarried couples to legally pursue each other for monies owed to others so make sure one is in place before you borrow a penny.
Don’t make the mistake of starting out your married life in debt just because you opted for the splashy, get it all on credit wedding. When planning your nuptials, stick to paying cash for everything. For many that may mean seriously downsizing that dream wedding but better to do that now than discover a little down the line that your ‘big fat wedding’ and the credit problems it caused are preventing you from say, getting a mortgage for a home.
If you are fortunate enough to receive money among your wedding gifts resist the temptation to go on a spending spree and use it as the beginnings of a financial nest egg instead. Every couple should have a savings account to help them work towards their future goals and if someone else’s money can help get it started all the better.
Living a Joint Financial Life
- Create a proper structure for your day to day finances. Determine just who is responsible for making sure that the basic bills are paid on time, for balancing the checkbook and keeping an eye on daily spending habits. Ideally, it will be a joint division of labour, but you should set your structure up in whatever way suits – and is fair – to you both.
- Figure out your joint financial priorities. It may take some work but if you can take your individual priorities and determine which of them are truly reasonable and turn them into joint goals then both your financial and personal lives will be in better shape.
- Never hide financial secrets from one another. Doing so is destructive, dishonest and one of the biggest relationship killers out there. Whatever the problem is deal with it honestly and as a team and, in many cases, you will even find that it’s not quite as horrible as you thought when two people are figuring out the issue rather than if one has to deal with it alone.
- For example, a financial emergency is often a true breaking point for many couples. Communicate and work together, instead of scream and shout, and it does not have to be. Brainstorm solutions. Can you get a small short-term loan to help? Is the creditor in question willing to wait a little? Work together and even the seemingly worst of financial storms will be much easier to get through.