Money can be a tricky and sensitive topic, especially when you’re discussing it with your life partner. In fact, the lack of communication about money matters is among the top reasons marriages fail, and in Singapore, financial issues1 and disagreements are among the common reasons for divorces.
Many couples may not be comfortable dealing with marital finances, but irrespective of whether your relationship has already weathered many seasons, or is about to embark on a new journey, it is important to sit down and have a talk about financial matters with your partner.
Talking about finances is an important starting point for couples in planning a future together – this includes not just understanding individual financial goals, outstanding debts, insurance requirements, and investment appetites, but also, habits and anxieties.
Being financially compatible helps bring about more stability and less conflict, giving couples a clearer picture of key life decisions such as those concerning asset ownership, planning for children and retirement.
A couple that plans together, stays together
Here are five considerations to look out for when it comes to discussing finances in your relationship:
Honesty is key when it comes to discussing everything in a marriage, and that includes finances. Be open with your partner, and have a heartfelt discussion about your financial goals – both individually, and together. Being upfront presents the opportunity for you both to work as a team, reducing conflict and reinforcing the strong foundation upon which you build a trusting and thriving marriage. Creating a safe place to talk about money matters lessens the chances for financial infidelity – where one partner hides a significant fact about money such as a big debt or makes a large purchase commitment without checking with the other partner.
Discuss What’s Mine and What’s Ours
To find a person you want to settle down with is tough, much less talk about pooling your financial resources together. No easy task. But there are several benefits of combining some financial resources after marriage and it may help you feel a stronger sense of togetherness. You can also grow your savings faster and make planning a budget more transparent.
Merging finances can be tricky – especially when one partner tends to spend more, earn less, or has more outstanding debt than the other. Factor in ego, control issues, and preconceived ideas of marital roles, the whole idea needs delicate management with trust and commitment from both parties.
One of the prime aspects to consider is the possibility of setting up a joint account, maintaining individual accounts, or both.
Budget like Buddies
More financial success and less conflict is what every couple desires, and one of the best ways to ensure this is by coming up with a joint budget. Most people avoid budgeting because they find it complicated individually – imagine doing it as a couple! However, it’s important to cultivate a strong budgeting habit, as this helps in regaining control over your finances, and in turn, gives a clear picture of where your joint resources are being spent, and how much you can save. Budgets help couples create short and long-term goals, emergency funds, and increase savings – a step in the right direction towards a happier marriage.
Growing Financially Literate Together
It’s important for two people in a relationship to grow together and this includes handling finances as a team. Financial literacy involves understanding how money works, and how financial decisions can impact not just your bank account, but also your relationship. As a couple, do review, track, and keep up with your personal financial management knowledge such as on budgeting, setting financial goals, and debt management. How about setting aside one date night every now and then to check in on each other about how well you’re doing in your money management?
Seek Professional Help
Discussing finances can be the opposite of romantic – but if you’re really looking to create intimacy with your partner, it needs to be done. Talking about money is a great way to plan your future with your partner, and many couples find it easier to have this talk with a professional or a financial expert present. Financial consultants help couples navigate through the messiness of discussing finances in a mature way. A professional is well trained in guiding couples to ask each other the right questions, without leading to arguments or raised voices. If you think it would be more productive to have an expert to help you get a grip on your joint finances, make an appointment with a trusted financial consultant!
As a couple, it’s important not just to work as a team, but also to celebrate your successes and achievements. Be honest about your finances with each other, and set limits on expenditures so you can focus on building a resilient financial future together.
In my experience, I’ve found that many couples find it very tricky to balance relationships and money. But in my opinion, if you have open communication, then half the battle is won. If you have trouble talking about long-term financial goals with your partner, my advice would be to seek professional help. When it comes to money management between a couple, it’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when”. Don’t put off talking about money, regardless of whether you’re engaged, or have been married for a while.
Our financial consultants at SG Alliance have helped many individuals and couples manage their money. Get in touch with us today to foster stronger financial intimacy with your partner.