Published by Mark Ring, Wealth Advisor
It’s often said that the key to a successful relationship is communication. But when it comes to uncomfortable topics, we tend to avoid rather than confront. Can you relate? If you find yourself avoiding the topic of finances with your significant other, you’re not alone! In fact, a couples and money survey revealed that although they understand the importance of discussing it, 26% of Americans turn a blind eye to the issue of finances in their relationship. Since this topic is often loaded with tension, it’s not surprising that money is the primary reason for arguments between couples. And the sad truth is that these disagreements about finances are the most common predictors of a future divorce.
With both money and companionship being necessities in life, why is it so difficult for love and money to peacefully coexist? For one, finances tend to stir up plenty of emotions, including stress, which can pollute the flow of everyday life. This causes many couples to dodge the money conversations in order to simply keep the peace. In addition, most of us also have a unique financial personality, which essentially means everyone has their own opinion on what financial well-being looks like based on their own life experiences. For example, some of us are savers, some are spenders. Some of us may be conservative, while others are free spirits. And while opposites have great potential to level each other out, these differences can often cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship.
While the possibility of money and love co-existing harmoniously looks dismal, there is good news! No matter what the statistics tell us, money doesn’t have to be a stress point in a relationship. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial friction.
You want the truth? Honesty regarding money isn’t a guarantee in a relationship. In fact, 31% of married adults admit to potentially deceitful financial behavior. Obviously, it’s vital that both partners offer full disclosure on all financial topics regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, whether you have joint accounts or separate bank accounts. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to significant expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding spending habits and upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid this huge cause of confrontation.
Set Healthy Boundaries
It’s important for couples to be on the same page regarding their finances. Sit down together and discuss how much can be spent per month on non-essentials. Establish and agree upon a few basic guidelines and create a structure for how you will spend and save money. If one of you is more disciplined than the other, you might consider having the more disciplined spouse manage the monthly budget and spending.
Most often, one spouse acts as the Chief Financial Officer of the household, managing all bills, budgets, savings, investments, and insurance policies. However, it can be helpful for both partners to understand their spending versus their saving. Make it a priority to sit down together at least once a month and review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills. This gives you the opportunity to get on the same page and avoid undesirable surprises, as well as check for any possible errors as a team. This ongoing input from both partners will also strengthen your relationship overall and create a true partnership.
Set aside a portion of pocket money that you and your spouse can each spend every month on something you love, whether it’s a massage, a round of golf, or a steak dinner. Along with saving for long-term goals, set small objectives you can reasonably accomplish each month and celebrate your success.
Find An Unbiased Financial Partner
When you find yourself facing tough issues, it’s helpful and wise to seek the assistance of an objective third party to help you navigate. This is especially true for your finances. Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an unbiased professional, whether that’s a financial professional, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial professional can work with you and your spouse to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your insurance coverage, assist you in establishing short-term and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide expert knowledge and advice.
It’s to be expected that the topic of finance can cause tension from time to time—but money should not become a constant source of tension in a relationship. One of the most beneficial things for yourself and your significant other is to push past the awkwardness and work toward harmony; invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.
Are you ready to start the journey toward financial harmony? Our team at Jacob William Advisory partners with you to see your finances from a holistic point of view, create customized strategies, identify long-term goals and the steps needed to pursue them, and track your progress. We are dedicated to supporting, educating, and providing informed direction to our clients, so if you have questions or have yet to get started strategically planning for life’s many milestones, we are honored and eager to meet your needs. Contact our office by calling 410-821-6724 or emailing [email protected] to schedule an appointment for a custom listening session.
Mark Ring is a Founding Partner and Wealth Advisor at Jacob William Advisory, a wealth management firm whose sole mission is to service their clients’ needs beyond their expectations. Mark has over 30 years of industry experience and for the past decade, he has been committed to building Jacob William Advisory into one of the foremost wealth advisory firms. Mark graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and spends his time outside of the office with his wife, Nancy, and his two wonderful children. He gives his time to numerous nonprofit organizations related to education and the arts, often serving as a board member. He enjoys playing tennis, golf, bicycling, cooking, and traveling. Learn more about Mark by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor.