(Guest Post by Nick Charles)
Living and sharing your money with someone isn’t always an easy task. When you choose to share your life in close quarters with someone, you start to learn more intimate details about their life – their bathroom habits, the little eccentricities that drive you nuts, those you can live with, and even their more personal spending habits.
When it comes to a relationship, being in the same page as far as spending and financial goals is highly important. Unfortunately, it is a conversation that few couples have until it is too late. If you are wondering what some of your significant other’s financial plans are for the future, don’t neglect the convo. Simply approach it with the following in mind:
Don’t Be Aggressive
Money is always a sensitive topic for everyone, especially if you are the person in the relationship that makes less than the other. When approaching your significant other about the topic of money, be sure to be sensitive to their emotions. Don’t be accusatory or condescending. They have their reasons for spending and saving just like you do. The goal of your financial discussion is to get both of you on the same page, especially if you are in this for the long haul.
Find Some Common Goals
If you find that you and your spouse have joined finances, but don’t have any common goals in sight, then sharing your finances isn’t really necessary. You combine your finances to work towards a common goal generally, not so one person can benefit from the other’s higher salary. When you approach your spouse about spending, see if you can’t come up with common goals. Ask yourselves some big questions:
- Do you want to purchase a new car?
- Are you planning on investing in a home later on down the road?
- Do you wish to retire by the time you are 50?
- Will you want children later on?
These are the types of financial goals that you will need to discuss to determine if you are on the same page, because ultimately you will have to work together to achieve these financial goals.
Create a Financial Plan
Once you realize that you are on the same page as far as spending habits and financial goals are concerned, consider making a financial plan so that you and your spouse can actually see how you will reach your goals. Be sure to include dates and major milestones such as amounts you would like to have saved for retirement by the time you are 30, 35, etc, and other purchases like new cars or a home. This way you will actually be able to have something to celebrate as an achievement, and be able to actually see yourselves accomplishing your goals.
While it is never fun having to question some of the larger aspects of a relationship, it is often necessary if you wish to have a long and happy union. Finances are a leading cause of break ups and divorce, and if you wait until later to determine if you are financially compatible, you may catch poor spending habits or find that your goals are much different after it is too late to correct your habits. So before you let spending become resentful, have a conversation about finances with your spouse.
Guest post by Nick Charles – a huge fan of personal finance
(Photo by HayleeBee)