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When navigating relationships and making decisions on who to settle with, we consider attributes such as kindness, humor, values, physique, upbringing, temperament, and the likes because they are desirable qualities. However, one aspect of our partners’ lives we ignore until it’s late is their finances.
According to a survey conducted by SunTrust Bank, the leading cause of strain in relationships and partnerships is money. Financial compatibility is highly important in relationships because if overlooked, it can cause major rifts between couples. When I say ‘finances’, I don’t necessarily mean how wealthy your partner is, or how much they earn. Yes, those are important factors to consider. However, your partner’s attitude towards money, spending, and saving is what you should focus more on. Regardless of how much they make, ridiculous spending habits risk leading to financial crises. So, before ‘settling down’ with a person, consider having these difficult conversations with them to avoid gbese.
Values, as mentioned above like upbringing, do in fact have a lot to do with people’s spending habits. Therefore, it’s important to learn about your partner’s upbringing to understand their outlook on finances. Were they raised in a home where everything had to be accounted for? If yes, that may be why they are tight when it comes to budgeting, or sometimes, lose. Understanding their background gives you insight into why they spend the way they do.
This can be a very uncomfortable topic to initiate. However, you should talk about this! If you plan to marry, live with or settle down with someone, discuss your debts! Talk about it in love, talk about it while tense, talk about it with tears in your eyes; whenever, just talk about it! There are understandable debts such as those incurred while paying for school fees, hospital bills, and other necessities. And then, there are Do Ri Me debts. Find out how much the love of your life owes, and why.
Are they taking on big responsibilities or balling? If your partner does not mind collecting loans from people to buy the latest gadget, you may want to reconsider how you plan with them because as much as you may try for it not to, their debts will affect your personal finances. Unless you can truly be strong-willed and turn a blind eye to the types of debts they may put you both in, in the long run, discuss debts with your partner. It goes without saying that you should be transparent about your debts too.
Does your partner save? Do you save? How can you both do so without one partner spending out of the savings? Talk about it. How much you and your partner both earn does not have to be a deal breaker. “The handling of finances is one of the major emotional battlegrounds of any marriage. Lack of finances is seldom the issue. The root problem seems to be an unrealistic and immature view of money” - David Augsburger, The Meaning of Money in Marriage.
What should matter is the attitude both of you have towards saving, setting achievable financial goals, and making budgets that are realistic. A partner who does not earn so high may be able to save more or better than one who earns a lot. Communicating with your partner will help you figure out what you need to about how they spend, budget, and save. You simply have to identify the financial red flags, if any, and decide how you want to go about handling them.
When in love, this can be tricky. You may want to consider combining finances with your partner because of the numerous plans you have made together. Money will spice up the relationship and help you live more comfortably, true. Though it is workable, It is better this is avoided. If you feel you have to, then do not combine all your money together.
If at all, you want to combine money with your partner, create a joint account and agree on how much each party will put into it, when, and when money can be taken out of it. This way, you can: save up for things you like, how and when to buy them. So that you can be assured that money will be saved and spent accordingly.
Finally, Finances don’t have to be a part of the difficult tests that you and your partner will face if you talk about them in-depth. Have the difficult conversation sooner than later to avoid having more difficult conversations and responsibilities with your partner in the future. All in all, communication is key. So, please communicate your fears with your partner to avoid strain.
If you have any stories or tips to share on navigating finances as a couple, please share them with the dillali community in the comments. If there’s one thing we love more than money, it’s your feedback!
Happy Valentines from Dillali!