Don’t fall into the “love vs money” trap in your relationship! These tips will help you have both love and money – because life is too short to choose one or the other.
In 8 Important Money Decisions for Every Couple, Russ Crosson discusses specific areas of money management where financial conflicts usually occur: men who work too much, the problem of debt, making sound investments, giving wisely, and understanding insurance
“Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce,” said Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money – for both men and women.”
But just because you argue about money doesn’t mean you’ll break up or get divorced. It’s how you handle your money fights – and whether you think you’re on the same team, or believe it’s a question of love vs money.
9 Ways to Have Both Love and Money
1. Keep separate credit cards and bank accounts. I have a Visa card in my own name, and I’m keeping it clear of debt. And, we have separate bank accounts — in our own names, totally separate. Some financial experts recommend having a joint account for household bills, which both partners have access to. This helps couples decrease debt and manage money after marriage by keeping them individually and jointly responsible for their financial future. Separating love and money can keep your relationship strong and healthy.
2. Put time between the impulse to buy and the actual purchase. Are you tempted to buy something expensive? Wait for five days. When you’re tempted to spend money you don’t have, give yourself a five day “cooling off” period. You’ll be surprised at how often you realize you don’t want the item five (or even one) days later. This will help you cope with financial stress in your relationship by creating a habit of patience and thought before spending money.
3. Make sure you both understand your financial earnings and household budget. It’s important for both partners to understand their financial situation. This means creating a budget together that outlines all income and expenses, knowing the financial plans for the future, and agreeing on financial priorities. Both partners have to be involved in the finances, not just for the sake of their relationship, but also to save money and create financial abundance. Instead of “love vs money”, it’s about working together as a couple to achieve your common financial goals.
4. Make money decisions together, as a couple. First, I have to confess that I’m not a good example of this financial management tip for couples – my husband does all our investing and bill paying! While it’s easy for me to let him do it, I really should not hand over all my decision-making power to him, no matter how much I love, trust, and respect him. I should know about our debts, investments, and retirement plans.
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5. Be honest about your saving and spending habits. Money problems in relationships are worse when one or both partners lie about money, hide their spending or saving habits, and avoid talking about debt problems. Lying about money is surprisingly common for couples in love…and it keeps them in financial, spiritual, and emotional debt. This is where love and money really are pitted against each other. Be as honest as you can about your financial habits — it’ll save you money and love in the long run (though it might be painful at the time!). Learning how to stop fighting about money when you’re in love will help you cope with financial stress, such as debt.
6. Deal with your money triggers as a couple. Does arguing with your partner about money problems compel you to shop and spend money you don’t have? Or maybe your shopping habits are triggered by problems at work or with your kids. Whatever your triggers are – find other, healthier, ways to cope. Decreasing financial stress in a relationship involves taking action, whether that means dealing with your emotional shopping tendencies or making a household budget and sticking to it. New money habits like these take time to develop, but once implemented, they will reduce your financial stress! And the less stressed you feel, the less power money will have over your love relationship.
7. Learn the difference between need versus entertainment shopping. Emotional spending is similar to emotional eating: it avoids the root of the problem and creates bigger problems in the long run. To stop creating more debt, tune in to your stress levels and ways of handing general anxiety. To decrease financial stress, learn to recognize when you’re spending money because you’re stressed versus spending money because you genuinely need the item. If you want to decrease money problems as a couple, you need to deal with emotional spending.
8. Make financial decisions carefully – both your love and your money depends on this. Every couple must decide if one parent will stay home with the children, and how that affects their ability to pay off debt quickly — and save money for the future. The decision to leave work is a big one; it affects Social Security income, health insurance costs and other financial factors. But, there are other consequences of staying home with the kids. For instance, some people find a strong psychological and professional value in going to work every day. The bottom line: decreasing debt and becoming wealthy as a couple isn’t just about making enough money and saving for the future. It’s about making smart financial decisions that won’t be regretted later.
9. Don’t deal with your financial stress by spending money. Here’s where the “love vs money” battle could get heated: according to psychology professor Karen Pine of the University of Hertfordshire, 79% of women said they’d go on a spending spree to cheer themselves up if they were in a financial crisis. Pine’s research leads her to conclude that women use shopping to avoid negative feelings or life dissatisfaction. Ironically, worrying about money could lead women to spend more, and get further into debt.
Are you making the choice between having both love and money? I welcome your thoughts below…