Relationships are hard.
Money is hard.
And when you mix the two, it can be quite a volatile combination.
This is especially true of couples. Getting the financial aspects right, can go a long way in ensuring a healthy relationship. Money is definitely not the most important thing in a relationship. However, it has the power to make or break close ties too. We all have heard instances of severe acrimonious disputes between family members and couples. Issues like these can be damaging to not only the couple, but to children and others around them. Being incredibly open and comfortable about discussing money with each other, helps build trust. Getting the difficult conversations out of the way, keeps you focused on the more important things in life.
Conversations about money can get a little awkward because your take on money and managing it can differ immensely from your partner. However, hiding financial problems or ignoring them can lead to crisis. This can seriously affect the health of a relationship, and you do not want that.
Here are a few things that I believe can help overcome the obstacles of managing their money:
1) Plan together for the future
When you want to spend a lifetime with each other, it is essential that you also plan for it together. Start with setting goals, for yourself and as a family. Be open about your fears related to money, or what money means to you.
Whether it is starting a family or building a home or even deciding where you want to holiday next, have that discussion sooner than later. Set aside time, once a month as couple, to take stock, plan, adjust and adapt your financial plans. If you start a financial plan, a life insurance or make any other investment, make sure your partner knows about it and is on the same page.
Most importantly, keep it simple. When you do it regularly, you will find it easier and there is truly little chance of any negative or uncomfortable situations to deal with.
2) Don’t hide your failures
We all make mistakes. An impulsive purchase, a loss in the stock markets etc. can happen to the best of us. But as long as you accept and learn from these mistakes you will be fine. What we tend to do, is try and sweep these under the rug. In the stock markets, sometimes people tend to double down and invest more to recover losses, which just compounds the problem. Whatever you do, discuss it with your partner. Take his/her feelings and opinions into consideration before the next step. A good life partner will understand and help you avoid making further errors.
3) Spend your money
Now as a financial advisor, whenever I say this, people usually get worried about my capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying be stupid with your money. All I am saying is don’t deprive yourself either. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but being able to buy certain things, does make you happy.
If you focus on the small stuff too much: save every dollar you can, avoid spending on yourself or your partner, not celebrating special occasions, could lead to a very dull life. So, set aside some money for these things, after you have taken care of contingencies. Focus the energy into making more money, investing in yourself and your future, rather than cut corners with your life. This pandemic has highlighted something that we already knew, that life is unpredictable and short. So make the best of today, while you prepare for tomorrow. There are enough protection plans and insurance solutions in the market that can take care of you and your loved ones if things go wrong. Planning early and doing it right can free up a lot of your money for doing the things you love.
4) Be Independent
Love can lead us to becoming complacent. We can become too dependent on our partners for matters related to money. This can lead to awkward conversations or discord in a relationship eventually. While it is always a good idea to have joint bank accounts and investments, it is also important to maintain a sense of independence. This does not mean you hide facts or money from each other. What it means is that a healthy relationship, is always between equals. If one half of the relationship pulls the strings when it comes to money, it can skew the equation, and in the long run can lead to some animosity between partners.
In conclusion, I want to say this: Love is wonderful. It can bring you a sense of joy and fulfilment that few other things can. But relationships are delicate, and some things can make or break a relationship. One of those is money. If you let every life decision revolve around how much it will cost you and whether you can afford it, you will soon become a cynical person who can never be happy.
Instead, love someone with every ounce of energy you have, and don’t let money get in the way of it. Take control of your finances, rather than the money controlling you, and live and love happily ever after!
Happy Valentine’s Day!