Tired of fighting about money? Why is it that when finances come up it’s such a hot button for many couples? The way I see it, money arguments aren’t really ever about the money, but what the money represents. Whether its power, love, control, mixed with shame, confusion, or stress, there is a path to financial compatibility.
Do these 5 things and finally stop fighting with your honey about money:
1. Come clean with your money secrets. Lots of times people avoid talking about money and spending; they think it’s a way to keep the peace. But having money secrets puts a big fat wedge in your relationship. If you are hiding purchases from your partner, paying cash so they don’t know where you’re spending money, or taking control of one part of your financial life so they are kept in the dark, you are setting yourself up for failure. I say “come clean!”
2. Insist on equal knowledge about what you spend and what you own and owe. With most couples, financial responsibilities are delegated to one person. That is 100 percent fine, with one important caveat: both people need to be aware of the basics of their financial situation. You both need to be aligned on your general financial approach. And you both need to know the details of where your accounts are, how to access them, and where your key documents are located. This is nonnegotiable. To start tackling the financial basics as part of a couple, channel your inner Girl Scout. Make sure you’re both prepared for the unexpected by knowing the most basic details of your shared financial lives. The last thing you want to worry about in a difficult scenario is what the password is for your online bank accounts, yet you may find yourself doing just that if you don’t gather this information in advance. This is an easy one—it shouldn’t take any more than an hour to go through these questions together.
Make sure both of you know the following:
The exact location of all key financial documents.
Contact information for all key professional partners: financial advisor, accountant, attorney, insurance agents, and any others who support you.
Account passwords for all online financial accounts.
Safe-deposit box information. Do you have one? If so, do you both know where the key is kept?
Click here to download the Key Financial Documents Locator. It’s an easy way to keep track of your important papers.
3. Create a shared prosperity picture. If you and your honey develop a vision for your future that you are both excited about, you can build a financial plan together to help get there. Making an actual picture of your future vision will not only be fun and get you on the same page but will also help move you toward your goals. As explained in the US. News and World Report article motivational images can boost your finances.
4. Share your money upbringings. Understanding how your partner was brought up around money can move you from judging them as wrong to understanding and appreciating their viewpoint. We develop many of our attitudes and beliefs about money at a really early age (conception to age seven). Learn what their first money memory was, how their parents talked (or didn’t talk) about money; did they feel there was a lot or not nearly enough?
5. Get outside help. If you find it challenging to talk with your significant other about money, you may consider making it a threesome . . . and including your financial advisor. For many couples, meetings with their advisor are realistically the only time they cover these financial issues in detail. However you choose to approach it, just make sure you talk about it.