According to a 2013 study by Kansas State University Researcher Sonya Britt, arguments about money (especially early on in a relationship) are the number 1 predictor that a marriage will end in a divorce.
If you’re serious about paying down your debt and moving towards financial independence, your biggest challenge may not be the interest rates on your credit cards…it might be your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or spouse!
Whether you’re just starting out in a relationship, or you and your partner have been together for a while, here are a few tips to help ensure this area of your relationship is on solid footing.
Review Your Finances Together:
In any relationship, its highly unlikely that you and your partner are both equally passionate about budgeting your money and tracking where all of your family’s money goes. The fact that YOU are reading my personal finance blog is a good predictor that YOU are the one in your household who is taking the lead in making sure the finances are put together.
While its OK for one person to keep track of the money and pay the bills, it is equally important that this person communicates to the other person (even if they don’t really care) about how much money is coming in, how much money is going out and what is left over. Both partners should have a rough idea of the household’s financial position.
Set Financial Goals:
The best way to get a reluctant spouse or partner on board with you about money is to come up with some basic financial goals. Where do we want to be “financially speaking” 5 years from now, 10 years from now, etc? Do we want to take a family vacation somewhere special? Do we want to pay the mortgage off and work at a less stressful job (or retire)? Setting financial goals that you both can agree on can help make both of you more committed to achieving them.
Establish a Reasonable Budget:
Probably the single biggest issue regarding disagreements about money revolve around the budgeting process (or lack of budgeting process). You each need to have reasonable expectations of what the other spouse’s needs and wants are and what their commitment level is towards achieving your shared goals. If there is room for compromise in your budget (i.e. spending a little extra each month on golf equipment, or buying cool new shoes) its better to lose a few battles and still win the war (the war of fighting off debt and getting ahead financially).
To sum it up, communication is key. Explaining to your partner why something is so important to you (in a way that they can understand it), will help you and your partner on your journey towards financial independence.
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