They say love is blind, but when it comes to love and money, it’s important to have your eyes (and ears) open at all times. And like everything else in a relationship, it all comes down to communication. Not surprisingly, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships – probably because, for so many couples the topic is ‘off-limits’ or simply avoided, particularly early on in the relationship, when the discussion is actually of most importance; we call this “relationship debt”, e.g. the debt one partner ‘acquires’ along with the new partner.
Whether you’re embarrassed about your financial situation, afraid to bring it up in the early stages because you fear dampening things, or you’ve been together forever and have never had the conversation, it’s important to feel your fears and have the conversation anyway – We’ve compiled some tips to help.
The fact of the matter is, you need to be somewhat financially compatible. This doesn’t mean that you have to find a wealthy partner, or that your partner needs to earn the same as you. It means you should share similar attitudes towards and habits surrounding money.
Do you share the same financial goals? Are you both savers, or spenders? Or are you both completely different? Do you value money? And does your partner value it too?
If these don’t match up, then you may be in for nothing but fights and financial stress down the line – and nobody wants that.
So, how do you determine your financial compatibility? With a conversation of course.
If it’s early days, it doesn’t have to be a serious and long drawn out conversation either. It could simply be a matter of asking a few questions here and there, to help you get a sense of whether or not you’re on the same page.
Communicating with your partner about money.
Put all your money cards on the table
A good way to start the conversation is to put your ‘money cards’ on the table first. This shows your partner you’re willing to be upfront and share, and that you trust them. You can do this by disclosing where you stand financially and going over all the basics, such as:
- Annual Income
- Budget (if you budget)
Having a $10,000 credit card debt (or any debt) for that matter, is something your partner really should know about. Sharing is caring, so you can then give your partner the opportunity to do the same, taking note of anything that may concern you.
Discuss your financial goals and current relationship debt
This is where the conversation can be fun – You discuss your financial goals and discover whether you and your partner share the same. Take this time to talk about and fantasise your dream home, holiday and even retirement plans. If you want to retire in the country or by the sea when you’re 65, and your partner wants to retire in Europe at 50, then you may need to have a deeper discussion…
So, no matter how happy and in love you are with your partner, it’s important to keep your eyes (and ears) open to allow for the crucial communication surrounding money. Need a little more help? ASIC Money Smart have an excellent education tool available on line. Once you’ve had this crucial conversation with your partner, things should only get easier. And if you find that one of you is struggling with debt or just needs debt help, you are your partner are not alone – We can help.
At Life After Debt ®, we can help you and your partner manage your debt into a manageable compromised repayment package – with interest frozen too! We have offices in Perth and Sydney, and can help you reduce your debt and avoid bankruptcy with affordable, practical financial solutions, proven to relieve hardship.
We provide honest and sympathetic, without judgement, advice. Contact us today.