Relationships and money are both complex subjects in their own right and mixing the two can sometimes lead to disaster.
by Barbara H. McLaurin
Special to the Tri-State Defender
Relationships and money are both complex subjects in their own right and mixing the two can sometimes lead to disaster. When you marry, your financial responsibilities can change dramatically. Don’t equate money spent with fun received. Consciously look for ways to both have fun and be thrifty.
Money trouble – a leading cause of divorce
The harsh reality is that there are a number of topics that you and your partner may have differences of opinions on, like political views and religion, and still manage to maintain a healthy relationship. Conversely, there are some things that couples really need to see eye to eye on in order to make their relationship work. Having children is one of them. Money matters are the other.
Honesty is the best policy
When you discuss finances and money with your partner, you should be completely honest. Accordingly, you should really listen to them. Before you consider sharing a financial future with someone, you should know what types of personality you both have. Know your individual value systems. Are you the type of person that wants to live in the now? Would you rather rent than own? If you are honest with each other regarding your views on money, then you can be honest about the compromises you are willing to accept. Without a doubt, all relationships involve compromise. Expecting one partner to do all the compromising will end in disaster.
When finances are discussed with your partner, you should agree to think like a partner. There should be a clear understanding that each partner’s decisions impacts someone else’s life.
Who should manage the money?
With so many people having trouble managing their money, it’s not surprising that different attitudes about money and finances can cause serious disagreements between otherwise happy couples. Each individual should understand her/his own relationship to and views about money. You should consider creating a spending plan, and strive to live within the boundaries you’ve set.
While how we handle money often leads to conflicts in relationships, the underlying issue is often miscommunication and misunderstanding. If you or your partner can’t be responsible with the finances, you shouldn’t have control over them. That job is not gender specific and should go to the most qualified person. Be honest enough with yourselves to recognize who that is.
Don’t leave it to chance
When it comes to setting financial goals and figuring out how you’re going to reach them you can’t leave it to chance. By definition, a goal has a deadline, and in order to reach it you need a strategy; you have to do certain things, in a certain order, by a certain date.
Whether your goal is to save enough money to put your children through college, fund a comfortable retirement, or purchase your dream vacation home, it will take time and planning to meet these goals.
Identify your needs. List your goals and the timeframe in which you wish to reach them.
Clarify your goals. After listing your goals and your schedule, determine what you need to reach them.
Construct an investment program
Once you’ve clarified your goals, you need to design a program to help you reach them. The key lies in narrowing down the options to those appropriate for you and your partner. If you haven’t set a program in place, don’t procrastinate any longer. You may want to consult a financial professional to help make this job easier.