Money affects day to day life more than almost any other force. Religious texts and folk wisdom all speak to how money should be handled by individuals, couples and families. Talk to almost any couple, regardless of their financial standing, and they will likely confess the majority of their discussions center around money. Knowing the pitfalls of financial concerns brought about by this topic, couples need a solid game plan to navigate these choppy waters.
Talking About the Monster
Couples without any conversations about money matters find themselves either in large scale fights or dissolving under the grinding weight of its pressure. The worst course of action is never having a single serious conversation about finances.
Everyone’s upbringing, education and experience with money is different. This colors how they relate to all sorts of circumstances. Without knowing a partner’s feelings about finances, one might accidentally violate a core belief damaging the relationship. The couple needs to determine what is important to them as a unit and how they are going to proceed. Without frank discussion, couples will never be able to move onto the next step.
Setting a Road Map
Planning sounds like the most boring way to address anything in a relationship. Funny thing about money is life presents unpredictable circumstances alone. In this modern age, a serious accident or fluctuations in industries bring about changes to a couple’s financial standing. In light of vast uncertainty, making a plan and discussing the plan becomes more critical.
Budgeting: A map is easier to follow when things are set. That’s why roads and landmarks do not change overnight. Think how much harder it would be to get to the office everyday if everything changed on a whim. The first budget is the hardest because no one wants to feel hemmed into a corner where they can not spend what they want for what they want.
The important thing to remember about a budget is how it demonstrates what the couple holds the most dear because they are planning for a particular outcome whether saving for a house or planning for a big trip. Also, budgets are working documents. They can be changed based on goals, accurate data and unexpected changes.
Deviating: With an established budget, a couple proves better able to steer toward a good opportunity when it presents itself. A great house becomes available before they expected, but the couple can see areas they can cut in the short term to help them reach a larger goal quicker. Those without a clear vision of the future or how they move toward it will not be able to pivot quickly enough and might miss out on an ideal situation.
Talking and planning sound like challenging mental exercises, but the kind where both partners are on the same page. While true in theory, the greatest arguments come when a denial exists. We are hardwired to fight against hearing no. Tell a toddler in the grocery store they can not have a bag of candy at the check out. How do they respond? Do they wait to hear the wisdom against having too much sugar or how a meal is right around the corner? Hopefully, adults in such situations do better, but they tend to not like hearing no either. Here are some points that might help.
* Reminding each other of the end goal and not momentary want.
* Emphasizing the partnership and how both are working together.
* Offering to discuss it later when cooler heads return.
Partners don’t want to say no to one another because they prefer to shower each other with love, acceptance and anything else the other wants. However, sometimes the kindest thing is not giving in because it would be the easier thing to do.
Money, thought challenging, brings opportunities. Couples who save for a trip can experience a location with less stress. Wrangling money matters within the confines of their relationship allows couples another area in which to communicate effectively and bring them closer. Draw nearer and have the tough discussions now. It will pay dividends in the future.