Is your relationship with money impacting your relationship?

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4 min
By Birdee

In stories of happily ever after and person meets person, little is said about how the two continue financially from there on. Rather than stories of skipping off into sunset, perhaps more should be said about couples screaming; ‘I love you but you suck with money!’ As indeed money problems are often a reason to argue and beyond this, the second highest cause for divorce. Eiikk! Yet, these problems are understandable as any two individuals inevitably bring their histories and their different personalities together. So, understanding your potential ‘financial incompatibility’ aka you’re a spender they’re a saver or even ‘financial infidelity’ aka spending in secret may be the best first step. For these reasons, money management, whilst it may not be that romantic or even particularly sexy, is well worth getting right for the sake of your relationship.

Read on for Birdee’s help with money matters, as well as matters of the heart.

Be honest, talk about it

Let’s face it, many of us are fairly ill-equipped to talk about money. We’ve either not had a great financial education, we’re not that interested and/or we feel ashamed about the state of our accounts. Despite this, if you’re in a serious relationship, you’re going to need to have that talk (not that talk but another talk, - ok there’ll be lots of talks). In this conversation (are you sitting comfortably?) it’d be a good idea to gather your partner’s personality when it comes to money, whether they share your financial values and what are their future financial goals. If these turn out to be a bit different- that’s ok, don’t panic -read on. 

Understand each other’s money personality

If what they say is true and opposites attract then generally speaking, one of the pair tends to be more impulsive: more of a spender. Whilst the other may be more cautious: more of a saver. Whilst one seeks safety, the other prefers spontaneity. The natural saver and natural spender are bound, at moments, to clash. These differences however, once understood, can be advantageous. For understanding you and your partner’s preferences could help the spender, spend a little more wisely and the saver relax and savour. 

Set Common Financial goals and then budget for them

Believe it or not this can actually be fun. Setting goals just means deciding what’s your financial priority (or priorities) right now. This could be travelling, your retirement fund, some house’s up to you (both). Once you’ve decided, budget in a fair way how much each of you can realistically contribute each month. 

Divide and conquer

One of the great (but lesser celebrated) aspects about being in a couple is you get to divide up tasks. Whilst it’s whole-heartedly admirable to attempt to do everything together, in day-to-day practice a conversation along the ‘who handles what?’ lines may be practical. E.g: one of you reads up on investments possibilities, the other finds out about the best retirement saving opportunities and so on. 

Share some communal expenses

First decide if you want to pay for things straight-down-the-line 50-50, or else proportionally depending on how much each person earns. From there, you could establish a joint account for all the communal expenses such as your food, mortgage and childcare etc. If you prefer, you can keep your own separate account for all the other stuff. That way it’s fair and you remain independent and you’ll have money left over to make the most of your money. 

Trust each other but discuss big expenditures

It might be a pain if you need to ask each other if it’s ok every time you buy a croissant. In saying that it’s probably not that great to buy a larger, more expensive item without discussing this with your other half. Perhaps consider a price limit, anything above this price ought to be talked through before purchasing. Decide this and honour it.

Support each other through the ups and downs and rounds and rounds

Life is full of uncertainty and unpredictability. All sorts of things can happen and in a couple it’s lovely that one can help the other during a trickier time, in any way, including financially. One of the best ways to give yourself a little more financial certainty is by investing.

Give it time

As you grow as a couple, and time passes, your ways of handling money will develop too. We need money, so money can easily get entangled with stress. Trust that you’ll probably influence each other for the better and that you’ll support each other to be better with money. Investing money like investing in a relationship may feel like a nerve-wrecking especially if you’ve not done it before. This Valentine’s day, good luck with all matters of the heart, for more information about investments, Birdee’s here to help.


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