Hacking the topic of money in your relationship
You have been dating for a while and you have even moved in together, but when is the best time to mention that you have a debt or that you have a problem with online shopping?
More often than not, negotiating money in a relationship, especially in new and fragile relationships, is normally awkward. Nonetheless, money is a conversation you must prioritize in your relationship if indeed you are seeking to commit for the long term.
Financial advisor and author Mel Browne suggests that couples need to talk about money early in their relationship rather than later: “It’s not quite a first date conversation but definitely before you move in together or know you’re committing to a long term relationship.”
Money impacts relationships a lot and things can heat up so fast especially when both of you have varied ideas about spending it. As a couple, it is advisable to have a shared plan for managing your money; have a common goal that you are trying to achieve together.
No doubt, having a beautiful and successful relationship entails having open talks about money all the time. To help you hack the topic of money in your relationship, here are a few tips you might consider embracing:
Be open about money
It is common to have separate and very different goals when it comes to finances. We have different vices and challenges when it comes to money and it only makes sense that you need to understand what your partner is grumbling with so that you can help them accordingly. To try and harmonize your financial goals, you need to talk frequently and honestly about money.
Talking about money together as a couple also helps you two dream together about your future and all that you hope for as partners. While at it, you can assure one another that you are working together as a team not rivals. Similarly, ensure you talk about everything without keeping any secrets no matter how tiny they might seem.
Come up with financial goals together
Financial goals are basically about dreaming big. When your financial goals are your financial dreams, talking about money with your partner becomes so much easy and rewarding.
As a couple, it is most likely that you have different goals and dreams; something that might be driven by your different income situations. Nevertheless, your financial goals need to have common themes.
Remember, the more you talk about money with our partner the better you work together as a team and in the long run this helps determine just how far you go in terms of achieving your dreams and how many will become a reality.
Budget and track your spending
You should always have a budget as this is the foundation of all financial goals. A good budget is one that helps you get out of debt, better your credit score and enables you to save as much as possible.
You need to sit down with your partner and come up with a list. Include everything in the list: mortgage or rent, insurance, loans, credit cards, savings, utilities, entertainment, charitable giving. Include everything you will be spending on.
Next, critically look at the expenses and cut down accordingly on everything that is not vital. This way, you will be able to up your savings and pay down your debts faster which translates to a step closer to realizing your financial dreams.
Prioritize getting out of debt
Your financial goals gain momentum when you have a budget that is geared towards achieving your dreams. To arrive at this point, going after your debt shouldn’t be up for debate. Come up with a plan together and tackle all your debts.
A good place to start is to ensure you are clearing all your bills on time. The next step - ensure you start by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate. Also important, ensure that you create an emergency savings fund to handle any unexpected bills as these bills are one of the main reasons we get into debt.
Getting rid of your debt puts you on the right path to making your financial dreams a reality. Getting that new home, setting up a college education fund for your child, or saving for retirement, shouldn’t wait any longer!