One relationship issue that comes up over and over again is money. Money is one of the leading causes of stress in relationships and often the reason couples break up.
Bondi Beauty spoke to Sydney’s Katia Loisel, author and dating and relationship advice expert on how to bring up the sensitive subject of money with your partner.
1) Communication is key
You don’t want to ruin the “honeymoon phase” of your relationship but you also don’t want to leave out the subject of money off the table for too long. “Most couples get into a committed relationship without knowing they are financially compatible” Loisel says. Loisel says it’s important to talk about money relatively early on in the relationship to avoid any surprises in the future.
When is the best time to bring up the topic of cash? “Most relationships progress naturally so the more dates you’re on, the quicker you will start sharing personal things about yourself.
That’s a good time to bring up the topic of money and that’s going to help you avoid conflict and any potential red flags. If you start fighting about money in the early stages of conflict then you’re probably going to have a lot of conflict along the way and you need to consider if they might not be the right partner for you.”
Money is a cause of problems in relationships because of the expectations that come with it. Do you want to travel the world with your partner? Own a home together, one day? What about kids? It’s important to have the financial talk early on in the relationship to figure out what your priorities are.
2) Be Honest
One way to achieve financial compatibility with your partner is by being honest. You use money everyday so of course it’s going to affect everything from where you live to where you’ll be eating dinner that week.
It’s important to pay attention to it and to make sure that you’re clear enough in your financial discussions that it doesn’t sneak up and cause tension and stress in your relationship.
“At the beginning of the relationship it’s important to manage your expectations by being honest about your spending style and shopping expenses and so on. Its important to be transparent, don’t tell them everything but it’s important to get clear of what money means to your partner and what money means to you, what are your spending style, what are your financial goals are.
Money means different things to different people. For some people, money means love, for some people money means freedom for some people money means security and they want to be in charge of it.”
Loisel adds “It’s important for couples to not get complacent and to talk about things such as going away, and your investments and your life insurance particularly if you are having children.”
3) Have shared financial goals
A stable relationship often involves planning for a future together: Whether it’s having kids, owning a home or traveling the world together. However you want your future to look like, it’s important to have shared financial goals so you can work towards achieving those goals together.
“The purpose of talking about money is getting to know your partner and working together as a team so that regardless of how you treat your financial decision and roles both of you should feel involved in the decision making and both of you should feel empowered and I think that if you come to that place where you plan the future together and have a sense of understanding then you can avoid a lot of the conflict.”
Having shared financial goals can help strengthen the relationship as both partners have a clear understanding of what they are expected to contribute to the relationship, so no one feels exploited or out of their depth.