The feeling of meeting your perfect match and falling in love is a feeling like no other. But what happens when differences in your financial approach puts a little strain on your everlasting love?
Money management, budgeting and savings strategies are subjects that may not be a priority for couples when they start dating, but as you merge your lives and take the next step in your relationship, money is an important subject that has to be discussed. Here are a few topics to address with your significant other as you progress towards making things permanent:
How do you manage money?
Sometimes couples have very similar financial habits — maybe you are both savers and maybe choose to live on a strict budget. If you both grew up without a lot of financial luxuries you may both work hard and save all of your money because you don’t want to go back to your previous financial life of being without.
If you both share similar good financial habits, it can be very good for your relationship because having similar spending and savings habits can eliminate any potential conflicts. As you grow closer together, you will automatically learn about your sweetheart’s money management and financial habits. When you sit down together to set your couples goals and your monthly budget, it is important to be honest and open about your money.
Do you share the same personal goals?
Some couples have similar personal goals such as saving for traveling, wanting to buy a home, and paying off debts. However some couples also have individual goals such as saving for a new appliance, an electronic toy, or a new handbag. It is OK to have both personal and couples goals as long as both of your goals are considered when you are planning your monthly budget.
The key to achieving all of your goals as individuals and as a couple is to prioritize your goals. Set short-term and long-term goals and focus on the most important (i.e. most expensive and the most realistic) goals first.
How do you handle debt?
Debt can be a very stressful aspect of a relationship because money that is spent on repaying debt could otherwise be spent on something else. The habit of getting into debt can be due to an emergency situation, it can be due to a lifetime of bad financial behavior, or it can be due to the lack of a financial education as a child. When you don’t learn about money at a young age, you can develop bad financial habits such as overspending.
If you are used to living without a budget and spending money carelessly you may find it hard to adjust to a new financial life that includes someone else. Couples who do not share similar financial habits have to be willing to change their bad financial habits and compromise in order to make their financial lives and their relationship function over the long term.