If you’ve ever been in a relationship for very long, especially if you were married or living together, I can almost guarantee that you’ve had a money fight.
One of the biggest causes of problems in relationships is differences in values and goals and habits when it comes to money, and especially communication about money issues.
Money can’t buy you love, but it sure can tear it apart.
And while I can’t claim that my wife and I are perfect when it comes to money and relationships, I can say that we’ve come a long way, and we rarely ever have money disagreements anymore. It wasn’t always that way, and we’ve had our share of fights along the way, but we’re in a much more solid relationship these days because we learned how to talk about money, and how to align our financial goals.
That’s the crux of this post, in two simple steps: learn how to talk about money, and learn to align your financial goals. If you can do those two things, you’ve done more than most couples, and you’ve done a lot to keep your relationship on solid ground.Sit down and talk about financial goals and values. Many couples often neglect this step, even if it seems obvious and common-sensical. But because talking about finances can be uncomfortable, they leave these important things unsaid, and often don’t even think about it individually. They have goals and values when it comes to money, but they’re not examined. That’s a mistake, as one person might want to be frugal in order to save for future goals, while the other might like to spend and enjoy things now, while the getting is good. The differences often come from different upbringings, and they can be emotionally charged (see next step for more on this). It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Just tell your partner you’d like to sit down and have a talk about the future — what your goals are and how you can work together, as a team, to achieve them. In the beginning, just start spitting out different things each of you wants — a house, kids, college education for the kids, a healthy emergency fund, nice cars, travel each year, nice clothes, gadgets and computers, etc. Then start to prioritize, and see if you can come up with things in common. If you want different things, it is important that you talk about why, and consider the other person’s desires. If that’s what makes the other person happy, you should want to make them happy — that’s the basis of a good relationship.Read more...