Are you in a relationship where talking about money and financial subjects is a no-no? If you said yes, you’re certainly not alone. In a poll that was recently conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling it was found that nearly 70% of all respondents were not comfortable talking to their ‘better half’ about money. Indeed, many of the respondents said that talking about money would be awkward, could possibly lead to an argument and, in one case, could lead to the cancellation of their wedding! The poll found that only 1 in 3 people said that talking about money and finances would be an easy conversation. (And we wonder why divorce rates are so high.)
There are many theories about why finances seem to be so hard to discuss with a lover or a spouse. It’s possible that, just like opposites attract, financial opposites also attract, something that could possibly cause a clash about financial decisions. There are also some people that don’t want to talk finances because they don’t want their spouse or lover to find out about their shopping addiction or the fact that they have maxed out their credit card (again!). Some people just don’t feel comfortable talking about their financial habits with anyone, including their spouse or significant other.
If you know that you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to talk about financial topics, you may find yourself in a situation that’s not financially healthy once you’re married. The only way to avoid something like this happening is to be honest, open and forthright with your lover before they become your spouse. Frankly, talking about hard-core financial details can be very hard for a couple if they have never talked about them before, and can be extra hard if financial problems have already occurred.
If you are planning on getting married or possibly just got married, the tips and pointers below will help you to face financial problems together and tackle them together rather than letting them become a cause of mistrust and miscommunication.
- Make a ‘date’ to talk finances. Most people don’t like being surprised with a heavy subject unprepared. Inviting your spouse or lover on a date to a nice restaurant or coffee shop to talk about finances may be just the thing to ease the tension and get the ball rolling.
- Don’t lie, or stop lying. The simple fact is this; they might not come out today but financial problems that you already have will definitely rear their ugly head again in the future. Better to be completely straightforward about any type of financial problem, including huge student loan debt, a bankruptcy that you had and so forth.
- If you can, find out how your spouse was raised and what they were taught about finances when they were children. Many times this will give you a common ground from which to work from.
- Avoid laying blame. The thing is, as soon as people start blaming each other their conversation usually stops dead in its tracks. If you can keep in mind that nobody’s perfect and try to be a little bit more compassionate about your spouse or lover’s financial mistakes, you’ll find that your conversation about finances is much easier.
- Open a savings plan together. Most couples have dreams that they share like visiting Europe, going on a cruise and so forth. Devising a plan to pay for those things and working on it together will not only help you to pay for them when the time comes but also can bring you closer as a couple.
- Share the financial workload. In many households one spouse takes care of the finances, including paying bills and investing, leaving the other out in the cold. Better to split up the financial tasks so that both spouses have a better understanding of how finances work, how much money they’re actually making and where it’s going.
- Allowing each spouse to have a little bit of money for themselves to spend as they wish every month can be a great way to easily diffuse any tensions caused by money issues.
- Talk about family financial issues before they occur. Someday you may need to care for an aging parent or be asked to lend money to a family member. Talking about these situations ahead of time can make it easier to make a decision when they occur.
At the end of the day what you need to realize is that financial problems are one of the most prevalent causes of divorce. If you truly care about your spouse, lover or partner, talking about financial issues before they become financial problems is vital. Some people say that love and money don’t mix but the fact is that if you talk about financial issues openly, frankly and with compassion, they can.