When you get married, you typically talk through things about personal values, career goals, raising kids, and your overall financial dreams. Things can get sticky if you have different attitudes or habits in managing your money. Living together and/or marriage is a romantic relationship (hopefully) but it’s also a financial partnership. Being faithful applies to many areas of your life together. In addition to the obvious, there’s running a household, paying bills, and saving for short- and long-term goals.
Your Money Attitude. It’s amazing what we learn as children about money, and it affects how we manage and respect it throughout our adulthood. For many of us, money is a scorecard; it’s tied to our self-worth, social standing and feeling of security. Are you compelled to spend every dollar in your wallet? Do you feel reluctant to spend money or have to find the best deal even if it means driving across town? A critical aspect of love and money is knowing your attitude, as well as that of your partner, is an important first step.
Working Together. Often one person in the relationship manages the bills. I suggest that couples talk about their expectations and who will take responsibility for specific money-related chores. Maybe one person is more comfortable with online bill pay and downloading updates into Quicken, but it’s important that both parties are kept up-to-date and involved in decision making. A good friend of mine abdicated control of his finances to his wife, and she hid her shopping addiction. Fast forward several years to a nasty divorce, he’s now responsible for half of the $70,000 of the credit debt she accumulated before leaving the relationship. Talking about finances during weekly meetings help keeps everyone in the loop and on track. Limit these discussions to 30 minutes so they are short, sweet and on topic.
Financial Therapy. If you can’t find middle ground, maybe you need financial therapy. As a daily money manager, I know many of the psychological triggers related to managing money. Avoidance typically compounds the problem, and outright confrontation can damage the relationship. Find ways to communicate clearly and respectfully. If you can’t, seek outside help.
Want help in talking with your sweetie about love and money? Then schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Fiscally Fit, Inc. Email me at Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call (650) 965-4090 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment.