This is a guest post by Tim Hedges from Personalincome.org where you can learn about making smart money and retirement decisions.
Do you find yourself continually arguing with your partner over your shared financial situation? Well, you’re certainly not alone.
According to surveys by SunTrust and Ally Bank tensions over money are a leading cause of relationship stress. Particularly problematic when partners have differing approaches to spending.
Here’s what you can do about it:
1. Be Honest with Your Partner
Do birds of a feather really flock together?
According to an Ally Bank survey, 75% of respondents indicated that they felt it was important to find a partner who had a similar approach to money matters and budgeting.
However, research shows that not everyone is an accurate judge of their spending habits, which makes communication in a relationship particularly vital.
The first step towards a happy relationship and a healthy bank account is being realistic about your own spending and saving habits and having a partner who feels comfortable holding up a mirror for you.
After all, you can’t fix a problem until you understand what it is.
2. Savers are Sexy and Planners Make for Good Partners
With over 55% of respondents believing that a budgeting and saving strategy is the most appealing money-related quality when considering a relationship, it is no surprise that having a good financial plan is key to avoiding fights and minimizing dissatisfaction.
Outlining with your partner how you think your money should be spent is a great way to lay the groundwork for a successful partnership.
The infographic below clearly depicts the survey findings on which these simple strategies are based. Take a look, do any of these issues ring true in your relationship?
3. Discuss Expectations
With every good plan, comes a discussion of expectations. You and your partner will need to discuss how you feel about the financial plan you’ve created.
Is it simply a set of guidelines to help keep you focused or is it a structured outline to which you’ll both adhere?
Having a clear understanding of each other’s expectations will allow you to discuss any issues that might arise beforehand as well as avoid any surprise disappointments down the road.
4. Don’t Keep Secrets
A whopping 35% of people surveyed by SunTrust said that they don’t consult their partner about large purchases with one in five people saying that they’ve spent $500+ without telling their partner.
The problem with secrets is that they always seem to find their way to the light and then all of a sudden you’re dealing with two problems instead of just the one you started with.
All successful relationships have one thing in common: trust. And you can’t have trust when you’re keeping secrets.
5. Be Open to Compromise
That said, we’ve all made a rash decision or a mistake (we’re only human). So if you find yourself having overstepped your financial bounds, or if your partner comes to you with a confession about a misguided expenditure, remember that relationships are long and this is a give and take.
No problem is too big to fix as a team. Small failures handled right can only lead to further growth.
Additionally, if either partner takes issue with having to always adhere to a budget or becomes dissatisfied with regularly checking in, it can be a good idea to allow for a certain amount of discretionary money for each partner (monthly or yearly).
This way, everyone feels like they have the freedom and control of an autonomous adult while staying within the bounds of their financial and romantic life.
6. Review and Renegotiate
Finally, like every good plan for success, there will always be hiccups and issues.
Perhaps the most important part of your financial plan will be the ability to come back together with your partner to review your progress and renegotiate where needed.
Check out the pretty eye opening findings in the following infographic from Personal Income:
What about you? How do you handle money issues in a relationship?