If you and your spouse or partner fight about money, you’re not alone. According to a study from SunTrust Bank, 35 percent of couples experiencing stress said that money was the primary source of conflict. For respondents age 44 to 54, 44 percent blamed money for their relationship challenges.1
Why does money so frequently cause relationship friction? There are many reasons, but perhaps the biggest may be that many couples don’t know how to communicate about money in a healthy way. They may have different perspectives on money, and they may struggle to find common ground.
No matter whether you’re newlyweds or seasoned marriage veterans, it’s always a good time to improve your financial communication. Below are five important conversations every couple should have. If you and your spouse haven’t discussed these issues, now may be the time to do so. It could improve your finances and your relationship.
What is your credit score?
Discussing credit scores may not make for fun conversation, but it’s an important part of an open dialogue about money. Borrowing is a critical part of life for many Americans. From mortgages to car loans to credit cards and lines of credit, debt finances a large part of our lifestyles.
If either you or your partner has poor credit, it could cause you a substantial amount in higher interest, and it may even make it difficult for you to obtain loans. It’s important to discuss your credit scores, because then you can work together to improve the situation.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Goals are a common source of conflict for many couples. Goals are often influenced by one’s perspective on—and relationship with—money. Those who are inclined to save may view goals in terms of savings targets and account balances. Those who have a natural instinct to spend may frame goals in terms of possessions.
It’s important to discuss goals so you can work together to achieve them. You can also avoid conflict by discussing your differing goals and finding compromise. You may want to max out your 401(k) contributions, while your partner may want to buy a new boat. Perhaps a conversation would lead to an agreement in which you buy a more affordable, used boat and still increase your contributions.
It’s always better to discuss differences upfront rather than letting them fester. Discuss your goals, especially when they differ, so you can find common ground.
How much can we spend without telling the other person?
Conflict may also arise when one person believes the other is being deceptive or secretive. Of course, some individuals think they have to be secretive when they feel their partner is too controlling and strict.
An easy way to solve this problem is to talk about how much financial freedom each partner can have. For example, how big must a purchase be before you involve the other person in the decision? Can you each have your own “fun” accounts from which you can make independent purchases? How do you divvy up the payment of bills?
Discuss these questions, set rules and then document the rules. Once they’re documented, you should be able to make confident decisions about when you can act independently and when the other person should be involved.
What do you want me to do differently when it comes to money?
Very often, we don’t view ourselves objectively when it comes to money. According to the SunTrust study, 34 percent of respondents said they were the saver and their spouse was the spender. Only 13 percent said the reverse.1
It’s possible you have poor financial habits that you don’t even know about. Ask your partner what you could do differently. Really listen to them and put yourself in their shoes. You may gain some valuable insight into your own behavior and decision-making.
Ready to build a stronger financial foundation in your relationship? Contact us at Gregory Financial Group. We enjoy helping couples maximize their financial success and their happiness together. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.
15989 - 2016/8/5