How to be Smart, Not Sentimental About Money Matters
Financial issues are always cited as one of the top reasons for conflict in relationships. A slowed economy can heighten these issues and endanger the stability of your partnership.
Couples often don’t establish an open communication pattern around money and so, when issues do arrive, it becomes a sensitive subject matter. Here are some tips to help you strengthen your relationship and avoid unnecessary conflict during these trying times:
Delegate Action, Share Responsibility: It’s not unusual for one spouse to play the primary role in managing the finances, but it is critical that both are involved and aware. Be certain you can clearly articulate your partnership’s assets and debts and locate the necessary back-up documentation. Managing the various dimensions of your partnership is a mutual responsibility.
Save Money, Express Opinions: Financially, it’s wise to tuck money away, but your opinions shouldn’t be stockpiled. If you have concerns about your partner’s spending habits, financial decisions, or your delegated role in managing money, make sure you express those thoughts. While one partner in your relationship may be more financially savvy, there is a lot to be said for instinct and there are TWO CEOs managing the process. Also, if the slowed economy is going to affect the way you spend or save money, be up front about that and make decisions about compromises together.
Separate “This” From “That”: Too often arguments over money are about something entirely different. Finances and the things you “own” are often the most tangible component of a relationship. It’s easy to project more abstract emotional issues onto these concrete money matters. The Institute recommends that each partner think carefully before discussing financial concerns to ensure there isn’t a larger problem at the core. Also, when it comes time to discuss spending and saving habits, investments, etc., avoid doing so at a time or place that may have preexisting stress or tension.
Get Help: There are many types of financial advisors and resources to help you and your partner more effectively manage your money. From online banking to free financial consultations at your bank, investigate options together and let an expert help you build stability in an unstable economy.
The Institute’s new guidebook, The Commitment Conversation, has tips for effectively communicating about sensitive issues and provides information that will help you build or improve your partnership’s financial machine. Click here to preview and order this guidebook.