When you were young have you ever heard your parents or friends’ parents argue over money? In today’s day and age finances alone are the cause of more than 20% of divorces in the United States. It is of great importance to understand tactics and approaches one could take to avoid becoming just another statistic. We all have our desires and personal goals when it comes to things we want and places we want to go, but I think it is important that we first understand how to build a strong relationship with our partner when it comes to this highly sensitive subject. Before diving into the details on this, lets look at what we can do proactively to communicate in a loving and professional manner.
If you have a shared account planning with your partner for the month ahead is the most important thing that must happen to be able to win at a relational level with money. Every Saturday or Sunday before the month begins sit down with your partner and analyze what you want to do that month, whether you are expecting an increase/decrease in pay or if there is an expense on something that you truly value coming up. This heightened level of communication allows one to talk about things that are both exciting on the horizon, but also allows you to have the conversation regarding what can and can’t be done in that given month. If you really want to purchase an expensive watch or pair of sunglasses, this needs to be addressed early on. It isn’t all take and no give, in fact, you should be trying to give more and show support for your partner. Note also, that it doesn’t need to be a 50/50 split all of the time, there is some flexibility and know in the long run it will all even out if everything is communicated early on and up front.
The next thing that you must do to be winning money and your partner is to provide them education and guidance on the topics of money. Show them proven statistics on what it looks like to win with money. I know it is called “Powdered Butt Syndrome”, when a child tries to give their parent advice on something(money), and they don’t listen (even if this child is 28 years old and very financially literate). It happens simply because they brought up their child from a young age, and there isn’t as much credibility to believe the message their child says. I believe this holds a degree of truth also with our partners and much of what we say can be ignored or laughed off. Sometimes, people don’t want to listen to your words directly so the best thing you can do is to provide knowledge indirectly, so they can come to the correct decision on their own. Provide them books, Youtube videos, blogs and other resources that can help them come to certain realizations on their own. If they aren’t open to new ideas, suggestions or lines of thoughts try and analyze whether these are qualities you want in your partner.
Something very important, that I don’t think is considered enough is to be very careful who you select as your partner. This comes down to values, spending habits, work ethic and preconceptions about money. If there is a large disparity in income with your partner, I certainly recommend having a separate saving and investment account! You have worked very hard on your education and career, and if the disparity in income is too far off and it eventually breaks off you can be out a significant amount of money. Understand the statistics but remain open and transparent about the situation. If there is any lack of trust, try to keep a separate savings and investment account, but understand in the long run you want full trust and transparency with your partner. It’s that trust and transparency where you don’t have to worry and bring up tough conversations on a routine basis. You don’t want something as silly as paper with old men printed on it to be a reason things come to an end. It is simply a game and I encourage you to make the topic lighthearted and enjoyable, but to stick to the plan as a test of commitment to each other and your future.
In todays image chasing and income-oriented culture, it is no surprise that money fights lead to negative stress, confrontation and at worst break ups. To combat this really drive to have a solid plan with your partner. Provide them with well thought out education and remain objective so they can make decisions on their own. Really strive to make transparency a number one priority. This way, when you are with your partner you can commit to them 120% without a worry in the world when it comes to money. You can focus on what really matters, love.
Nothing stated in this article is a recommendation from Forehand Financial to buy or sell a particular security or asset class. You should wisely consider your tolerance for risk, time horizon, and financial goals before making an investment. With investing, you run the risk of losing money, always read an investment prospectus and make an informed decision before allocating capital to a particular investment.