One the most stressful problems on a marriage (or any relationship for that matter) is financial disparity. When a couple is not on the same page financially, that can create arguments, stress, and discomforts at home. In fact, according to a CNBC’s article, finances is the leading cause of stress in a relationship. There is no mystery as of why money problems are so common today, and how much it impacts people’s lives. Money problems is a significant player on about 59% of couple’s divorce.
On this post, we at Saving For Hope, wanted to give you a few tips to minimize the stress of financial related issues at home. Of course, this is easier said than done, but with a bit of communication, patience, and cooperation, any couple can start eliminating financial stress.
The reason why couples disagree about money is not even that some people are savers and some people are spenders. It is deeper than that. “Finances” in general is a touchy topic for most people. For whatever reason, people still have a hard time talking openly about finances, income, and related matters. This makes the stress even more acute when you have different personalities, ethnicities, and even cultural backgrounds on a relationship.
However, not all is bad news. Identifying key aspects of financial literacy is a great way to start to break free from stress. Pay attention to these tips to help you be on the “same page” as you work through debt, retirement, mortgages, etc.
Materialism – Valuing “things” over people. I think this is the leading cause of most of financial stress on a relationship. The idea that to be happy one needs “things”, toys, etc. instead of needing each other as a couple is common. I had a friend that bought a $40,000 boat because he wanted something to use for family bonding. Turned out the boat was a great financial burden, and it was not as useful to bond with his family as he thought. Of course, I am not saying don’t buy a boat, but I think the lesson to be learned here is: you do not need expensive things to bond with your family. A family can bond at home playing board games for free, or at an outing to the movies (which is almost as expensive as the boat these days!). That is why we at Saving For Hope always embrace minimalism (instead of materialism) because sometimes having less things, lets you concentrate on what is really important in life: your family.
Debt – Using credit as a way of life. In most cases, debt is really a consequence of materialism. Although debt is the new slavery in the US, people still rack up credit card debt at alarming rates. We have several posts related to credit cards and debt in general, so there is no need to revisit all those numbers. However, it is important to point out that the less debt you have the less stress you will have in your relationship. Sounds simple! Right? Well the truth is that young couples are raking up a ton of debt, and 49% of polled divorcees wish they could have saved more during their marriages. Learn that powerful lesson before it is too late! Stop getting into debt and save more. Be accountable to your partner and stop playing the blame game. To get out of debt both parts need to be informed where they are financially. Click To Tweet
Communication – The key to success. Many couples have financial issues because they get into a relationship without knowing where the other person is financially. Sometimes this is done with no ill intent, but in a few cases, it is, but it can create a lot of stress regardless. Disclose to your partner where you are, what goals you have and how do you manage your money. Do not hide debt, or financial troubles to your partner. Everything comes to the light eventually, and it is better to have a united front to target those problems. Talking about finances in an open and constructive way is healthy. It allows both of you to be on the same page and to be accountable to each other.
Financial wishing – What I call: getting to your goals, without a solid plan. Here is another area that is a great communication starter for most relationships. Goals are important to all couples. From having kids, to buying a new home, goals can vary in nature, but we all have them. Just as important as goals are, it is also important to have a plan to achieve those goals. Planning is the key to financial success. Talk about your goals, how they can be achieved and put a plan together with your partner to get there. The point is that both of you can work and sacrifice together to get there, but you will also share the joy of achieving a goal together. Click To Tweet This helps couples to bond and to be stronger in the long run. Imagine if you can pay off those credit cards once and for all!? Or if you can buy that home you both love?
Be happy together – Find your balance. Sometimes traditional roles don’t work the best for some people. For some couples the Mom works, and the Dad stays at home, or the Dad organizes, and Mom plans better for the long run, or Mom is the spender and Dad the saver, etc. What I am trying to say is that, in order for you and your family to have “financial happiness” (which means something different for each couple) you must find what works bests for you. Finding your financial balance will help you work together to tighten your belt and get back into financial track. It will also eliminate conflicts and tensions at home.
Hope this post was inspirational enough to help you break from your financial slumber and talk to your spouse. We also hope that encourages you to break free from past mistakes and hang ups. At the end of the day, we all had made stupid financial decisions in the past. Finances don’t have to be complicated and to give your family a ton of stress (that is what the kids are for!!). Enjoy!