Updated: May 27
There are money problems in relationships and that's why a major reason for divorce and breakups is money. There are many reasons why but a major underlying issue is communication about money in marriage. We are not taught in school how to do money management basics. As we navigate our consumeristic society without this knowledge we pick up more negative beliefs about money than positive. These beliefs often come from family and friends that are likely muddling through as well. PRO TIP: Don't take money advice from broke people.
As it is, a single person is swimming upstream trying to navigate their finances. It's even more difficult when two people with different money outlooks get sweet on each other. At the beginning of a romance, it can be daunting to be the first to bring up the topic of money. Will this person start to think of you as a buzzkill or cheap or greedy? Or will they be relieved because they wanted to bring it up but didn't want to be seen as the buzzkill or cheap or greedy? My advice would be to get into the habit of talking about the hard stuff, in the beginning, to help avoid money problems in marriage.
My wife and I were "budget buddies" from the very beginning of our relationship. We both had credit card debt from poor choices made earlier in our 20's as well as student loan debt. Being vulnerable from the beginning really helped us to become closer and get into the habit of being aligned and working together toward a future of financial security and eventually financial freedom. Spending time together was free and all we really wanted to do was spend time with each other so we used it to our advantage and paid down our debt. From there we saved for our first home and have continued to make investing a priority.
The tension created when one is a spender and the other is a saver may seem insurmountable.
There are ways to create harmony even when there are different money personalities in a relationship. Adults typically don't want to ask their partner for money. It is disempowering and introduces an unhealthy dynamic. My wife and I have our own separate play accounts so that each of us is free to spend however we want. Since we're best friends we also have a joint play account for when we spend money together.
One may be a good money manager while the other wants to be completely hands-off. What if something happens to the money manager? That can leave the other partner in the position of having to put the pieces of the financial puzzle together in addition to grieving.
The good news is that these issues can be resolved with open and honest communication. Working with me can help couples to refocus, gain control and set a unified plan. Cheezy but true - Teamwork makes the dreamwork in money and marriage.
Utilizing a Financial Coach is like having a personal trainer for your money. Find out if an accountability partner, guide or cheerleader is right for you by scheduling your FREE 30-minute Q&A call.