If you haven’t already figured out if you’re the spender or the saver in your relationship, take a look at our article about it here.
Regardless of what role each of you play, money will probably be a contentious issue at some point in your relationship, and unresolved issues relating to it are one of the leading causes of divorce.
How To Start Every Conversation About Money
Scream “But I want it NOW” at the top of your lungs.
Just kidding. That might be your kid’s strategy, but it shouldn’t be yours.
As a partner in a committed relationship, money represents every choice that the two of you make. Money and how you spend it (or don’t) is one clear representation of the joint priorities and goals of your entire relationship.
Whenever an issue comes up regarding money, rather than trying to convince your partner that they should or shouldn’t do something – take a step back.
This Conversation Is About Your Entire Future
Every dollar you spend is a dollar that can’t go towards another goal that you two have. So when you disagree, you have to take a step back and ask how this decision will affect your broader goals.
If you have a goal to travel later in the year, then you might not be able to buy that new TV today. If you have a goal to pay off your credit card debt before December, then going on that vacation might not be in the cards.
What Are You Both Working Towards?
It might be hard to pull away from a heated money argument to say “Wait, honey, let’s think about retirement for a second”. But try it. Does that TV REALLY fit in with your goals and priorities? Goal setting is crucial for a successful relationship. What’s the point of being with someone who wants completely different things from you?
More importantly, how can it work out? If you want to settle down with a home and a dog in the town where you grew up and she wants to start an organic farm in Peru, you’re going to have some problems.
If you want to live debt-free and save enough that you can provide your children the type of life you never had and he wants to buy a new car every three years, you’re going to have some problems.
Having common goals means you both waking up facing the same direction. Choices become easier and arguments become more productive because you both want the same thing.
You Can Have Anything, But You Can’t Have Everything
This expression is one of the most powerful motivators/reality checks when thinking about personal finance.
The key is learning to deny yourself with humour. As your friends are thinking you’re crazy for not upgrading your 15 year old car, you have to be able to smile and know that what they’re putting into car payments, you’re putting into your financial freedom.
Having a partner to smile along with will help immensely, and it’s this attitude that can prevent money fights from happening.
Setting Financial Goals
You can’t make up your goals in the middle of a fight – you have to have them set ahead of time.
Read our next article on how to set financial goals as a couple.