Love and Money: Financial Planning Considerations for Couples

If you do a simple search on the topic of relationships and finances, you’ll come across many sobering statistics. For example, you’ll find that money is the primary reason for arguments between couples, with many couples averaging three fights per month revolving around financial issues. You’ll also learn that 3 in 10 married adults admit to potentially deceitful behavior about money and that disagreements about finances are the most common predictors of a future divorce.

Why is it so difficult for money and love to peacefully coexist? Finances tend to be an emotional topic for most people and cause plenty of stress in everyday life, so many couples attempt to avoid these conversations at all costs. In addition, everyone has their own opinion on how to manage money and most of us also have a unique financial personality. Some of us are savers, some are spenders. Some of us may be conservative, while others are free spirits. These differences can cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship.

But 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.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

It’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, 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. Studies show that around 49% of financial arguments are about unexpected expenses. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding spending habits and upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid such confrontations.

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 disciplined spouse manage the monthly budget and spending.

Collaborate

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. If time allows, sit down together once a month to review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills and check for any possible errors. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.

Reward Yourself

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.

Enlist The Help Of An Unbiased Third-Party

Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third-party, 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 and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice.

Although the topic of finance can occasionally cause tension, money doesn’t have to become a constant source of concern in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.

At Prostatis, I enjoy working closely with couples and helping them identify and pursue their lifelong objectives. If you have questions about your financial situation, desire advice or education on investing, or have yet to get started strategically planning for your retirement, I’d be happy to help. Call us at (410) 863-1040 or email askmike@thesavvyinvestortv.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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