Being in love always gives us the illusion that everything else will fall into place once we find the right person for us, but in reality, being in love and staying in a relationship is all about hard work and commitment. In order to build a stronger foundation for you and your partner to last a long time, there should be a discussion of important matters such as money. For some money topics might be too trivial to focus on, after all, you are in love. However, experts recommend having an open and honest conversation about money early on since it is bound to happen anyways.
In time, should you decide to save up for holidays, joint purchases and possibly renting or buying a home together, money issues will inevitably arise. Different individuals have a different view on finances, salaries, spending habits, and investments and due to these differences, friction and conflict may arise. “Some of the symptoms bringing them in—feeling depressed, feeling anxious, having panic attacks—they may not know how much the role of money is playing in those symptoms,” says Brad Klontz, PsyD when couples come to his office with money trying to tear the marriage apart.
Just like any other relationship, there’s bound to be some issues that will possibly end up in disagreement or argument; however, the important part is both you and your partner are willing to compromise and tackle the problem head-on. In a new relationship, many topics are unexplored, and oftentimes, both partners are unwilling to bring up sensitive issues (politics, religion, money and previous relations) because your present status is exceptional anyways so disturb the status quo. Here are guidelines to remember when money issues are considered.
Accept that everyone is different.
There is a chance that you and your partner differ in the salary range. One might be earning a lot and have numerous investments while the other might be struggling to pay student loans, debt and financial aftermath of a relationship or divorce. Accept that being financially savvy is not a trait of everyone. Also, people vary in their attitude towards money that is why as much as possible to discuss weighty topics early on in the relationship because after all, you have two options: to accept the person regarding financial matters or end the relationship.
Don’t add insult to injury.
No to blaming. “Do everything you can to support your partner’s well-being, and respect your partner as you would your best friend,” says John Gerson, Ph.D.
Don’t ever say “I told you so” when your partner makes a money mishaps. It is innate to emphasize that you were right all along and the other was wrong. If he/she put himself or herself under financial woes using his/her own money, then what you could do is give advice or tip in a relaxed and nonjudgmental matter. The final decision remains in their hands. For joint accounts, a rule should have been placed that frivolous and unnecessary purchases should be done through consulting the opinion of your partner.
Take small steps
Controlling or budgeting your finances can be overwhelming to someone who hasn’t done it before. If one of you is not aware of the importance of savings and investment, the more financially savvy should mentor your partner as well as learn and improve together. Start with easy saving tips such as limit buying from Starbucks and cooking your meals now and then. Also, another example is set an appropriate budget for the household weekly and stick by your allotted amount.
Here are some additional tips – “First, take yourself to a local bookstore or search online for books that specifically focus on this subject. Second, it’s time to have a discussion with your partner and for you to make a vow to change your relationship with money. Third, create what I call a Financial Performance Improvement Plan,” according to Seth Meyers Psy.D. Financial Performance Improvement Plan is a specific plan – identify a financial problem, create a solution for it, and have a deadline.