How to Prevent Financial Disagreements from Destroying Your Relationship

Financial disagreements can not only be damaging financially, they often expose deeper relationship problems. When it comes to harmful relationship problems, conflict over finances is right at the top of the list. There is even some research showing that compared to all types of conflict, financial disagreements are the top predictor of divorce. However, by discussing financial issues with one another and communicating effectively, couples can not only build trust with each other, they can also prevent sabotaging their relationship by following these tips.

Tip #1: Start Early!

Ideally, before marriage, couples should sit down and have conversations about finances. The earlier the better! By doing so early on, couples can identify any trouble spots and, if necessary, consult with a financial advisor and/or couples therapist.

Tip #2: Communication Tools

In order to prevent any financial differences from negatively impacting your relationship, it is essential to develop the tools to communicate effectively. These communication tools will serve you well in many other aspects of your relationship.

Tip #3: Personal Financial Philosophy

You can use these conversations as a basis for identifying and communicating your own financial philosophy. Are you a thrifty person or do you spend freely? Do you make quick decisions when it comes to money or do you like to research all your options first? Often our approach to money comes from our upbringing. A financially challenged childhood might cause you to spend money very conservatively. However, if you had a more comfortable upbringing, you are likely to treat money differently.

Tip #4: Your Partner’s Philosophy

Once you understand your own perspective on money, it would be helpful to understand your partner’s financial philosophy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Both of you need to make sure that your philosophies when it comes to money are going to be mostly compatible.

Tip #5: Develop Financial Goals

Where do you see yourselves as a couple financially in 5, 10, or even 20 years? What do you anticipate are your shared goals, such as:

  • Owning a house?
  • Raising a family?
  • Saving for college tuition?
  • Retirement plans?

Once you have established your goals, you can begin working towards them. Remember, the sooner you figure this out, the better!

Tip #6: Talk about Your Finances

Make these discussions a regular occurrence. Decide what works best for you as a couple. One conversation per week, or perhaps once a month is sufficient? However you decide to do it, consistent financial discussions will help you to keep on top of matters as well as look ahead to anticipate possible future problems.

Tip #7: Spending Limits

Communicate and jointly decide with each other your appropriate spending. This is the amount of money that you allow each other to spend without requiring additional discussion or approval.

For instance, you may not need to discuss with your partner a $50 purchase at the grocery store. On the other hand, spending $3000 on a mountain bike would, for most couples, require additional conversations before making a purchase! Remember, making a large purchase without communicating to your partner is a form of financial infidelity.  Since you know you won’t get their approval, doing it anyway can quickly erode trust in your relationship.

Tip #8: Avoid Financial Secrets

Another form of financial infidelity is keeping secret financial problems or issues from your partner. It can create significant trust issues, which, if left unaddressed does negatively impact other aspects of your partnership as well.

Tip #9: Make the Most of Your Resources

You don’t have to do this alone! Take advantage of resources in your community that can help you and your partner. For monetary issues, a reputable financial advisor can help get your finances on track.  For relationship problems, consult with a couples counselor who can teach you the communication tools you need to be successful as a couple.

Don’t let financial disagreements destroy your relationship. Couples can work to avoid these problems by following the above tips, as well as working with both a financial advisor and couples counselor. Together, you can lay the groundwork for a relationship that is not only fiscally sound, but also emotionally secure.

Category: Couples · Tags:

Comments are closed.