Money is a tricky thing. It has the ability to ruin relationships of all kinds if it’s not handled responsibly. Romantic relationships are built on blending two lives. One aspect of that blend happens to be finances. For that reason, money is a powerful tool that can either help build a life together or tear a relationship apart. In order to keep money from negatively affecting your relationship, it’s important to realize just how powerful money is as a tool. It’s about keeping your communication open, designing your finances in a way that works for you, living within your means, keeping your finances safe, and making plans for your future.
Focus on Open Communication
If you have bad credit, spending problems, or a lot of debt, be sure to be open about those aspects of your financial history. In many situations, it’s not the poor financial history that causes financial issues in a relationship, it’s the lack of communication. As a couple, agree to be transparent about your finances and the struggles, concerns and plans you have. Open communication will help each person to feel safe in discussing their financial struggles and any feelings of concern for the other person. Being open about your financial concerns and issues is the first step in both of you working toward better spending habits and repairing any long-lasting effects on your financial history.
Design Your Own Logistics
There is no rulebook when it comes to handling finances in your relationship. Many couples, especially those that are married, choose to combine their finances in a joint account. However, that is not the only way to work the logistics of your finances. Having joint accounts can be more convenient, promotes trust, and makes money more accessible to both of you. However, separate accounts promote independence, leave less room for spending disagreements, and provide more security. There is no right answer on which way to go. Both situations can work as long as they work for both of you.
Live Within Your Means
Financial strain can cause negativity surrounding your relationship. For that reason, you should work on creating a budget that works for both of you. A budget is a great communication tool that shows each of you what your expectations are for spending, saving, and making money. If you’re in a tight place financially, work on implementing some tactics to promote a frugal lifestyle. Store unnecessary belongings and live a minimalist lifestyle in order to get used to what it can be like living with just the necessities. Eat out less, work on going on free dates, and make coffee at home. Work together to find ways to cut the extras out of your spending together.
Keep Your Finances Safe
There are so many different ways that you can become a victim of fraud. Just using a smartphone can triple your chances of identity theft compared to non-smartphone users. Keeping your finances safe can help keep money from negatively affecting your relationship because it will limit the chances of you and your significant other experiencing financial stress. This doesn’t mean you have to stop utilizing technology for your finances. In fact, 94 percent of businesses saw security improvements after switching to cloud computing. All it means is that you should be being mindful of your security and how it’s paired with technology. Avoid suspicious websites, use strong passwords, and set bank alerts. If you have concerns about your financial security, talk to your banker and stay secure.
Plan for the Future
One thing that can create big problems within your relationship is not being on the same page with your future. When you’re saving money, spending money, and investing, you should both be on the same page for how your finances will help shape your future. If one of you is trying to save money for a home and the other is spending and not saving, that can cause some serious negatives in your relationship. An unbalanced financial situation can cause resentments later on. Even if you do get the house one day, if one party sacrificed for it and the other didn’t, that can create problems. Be sure to be on the same page with your future plans so that your finances can follow suit.
Financial strain has a way of becoming a pain point within some relationships. Money controls so many aspects of living, and because of its power, it has the ability to cause negativity. Taking financial responsibility seriously and always treating your significant other with respect when it comes to their finances is paramount to maintaining healthy financial harmony. If finances are tight, work together — not against each other. Keep communication open, be flexible with the logistics, live frugally, keep your finances secure, and save for your future together. Your finances can be a tool to make your relationship stronger.
About the Author
Chelsey Ranard is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is passionate about addiction recovery advocacy, loves talk radio, and prefers her coffee iced. Follow her on Twitter!