Communicating about money with your significant other can be healthy for your relationship. When it comes to money and relationships, couples need to have the same financial values. Having conversations about money and dealing with money issues versus avoiding them is an essential step in meeting the financial goals that you have as a couple. Here are a few topics to cover as you start discussing money:
#1: Credit scores, debt, and income
Being open about your income and how you choose to save and spend is a good indication if you and your partner are on the same page or not. When there is heavy use of credit, a credit score is a good indication of financial health, either good or bad.
#2: Assets and liabilities.
Discussing what you own and what you owe is an excellent place to start. Your assets and liabilities present a precise financial balance of where you are today and can be a starting point for discussing your financial goals with your partner.
#3: Money roles.
As a couple, deciding who has responsibility for paying the day-to-day bills is important. Both partners can have responsibility for certain expenses, or one should assume the role of bill payments. Joint accounts or single bank accounts also fit into discussing money roles and how payments will be handled. Both partners should agree on what role each will play in managing the household’s finances.
Both partners to be open to saving and investing for their future together. Both partners should be included in planning and developing a savings strategy that prepares them for retirement together, but also if they become single.
Everyone has their ideas around money, often from their upbringing or from personal experience. It may not be easy for couples to talk about money, but the conversation must occur since money and financial issues are common causes of breakups.
Ramsey Solutions, a leading company in financial education, conducted a study to determine how couples communicate and relate to money. Money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. Results show that high levels of debt and a lack of communication are significant causes of household finances’ stress and anxiety. Some interesting key survey findings include:
- Nearly two-thirds of all marriages start in debt. Forty-three percent of couples married more than 25 years started off in debt, while 86 percent of couples married five years or less started in the red — twice the number of their older counterparts.
- One-third of people who say they argued with their spouse about money say they hid a purchase from their spouse because they knew their partner would disapprove.
- Ninety-four percent of respondents who say they have a “great” marriage discuss their money dreams with their spouse, compared to only 45 percent of respondents who say their marriage is “okay” or “in crisis.”
- Eighty-seven percent of respondents who say their marriage is “great” also say they and their spouse work together to set long-term goals for their money.
- Sixty-three percent of those with $50,000 or more in debt feel anxious about talking about their finances.
- Almost half (47 percent) of respondents with consumer debt say their level of debt creates stress and anxiety.
Discussing money with your partner may not be easy, but it is essential to having a healthy relationship. If you need help starting a discussion with your significant other, scheduling a meeting with both of you and your financial professional is an excellent place to start.
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