Money is often the source of tension between couples. Here’s what do if you and your partner don’t share the same perspective on your finances.
The pandemic has created significant financial pressure for many of us. Nine million people borrowed more money by the end of last year according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Self-employed people were most likely to have taken on loans above £1000. Some 50 per cent of parents were less likely to be able to cover their usual expenses.
Yet even before the pandemic, money was a difficult topic among couples. Research conducted in 2017 by relationship charities Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care showed that money was the biggest strain on relationships. Over a quarter of UK adults said that money was causing problems. Marriage Care Counsellor Jenny Porter says: ‘Usually when couples argue over money, it is because both individuals have very different spending habits.’
Money Mentor Jean Flower from the website Savvy Money Mentor has some advice on how to tackle the sensitive topic of money in your relationship…
Don’t make money a taboo subject
‘It’s best to talk about money and not see it as a dirty word or cause of fear,’ she says. ‘Learning not to have money as a taboo subject will strengthen your relationship in more ways than just your bank balance.’
Share the responsibility
Jean says: ‘Unfortunately usually one person has the major responsibility for money, but if that person becomes ill or dies then this can have a devastating effect on the other person. One person controlling the money can also lead to financial abuse or controlling behaviours. It is empowering for you to feel you are both financially savvy with your money. It creates independence no matter what your bank balance is.’
Keep a joint bank account
You may think it’s easier to keep your money separate but your relationship is a partnership. if you view it that way and look at your bills and financial commitments as a team, it could make your relationship stronger.
Talk about your buying choices
Decide where you are going to do the weekly shop, whether you can afford more expensive food brands or whether you need to buy cheaper ones.
Try to understand your partner’s viewpoint
If your partner has come from an upbringing where money was limited, they may be cautious about spending. On the other hand, if they’ve never had to worry about money they may have a relaxed attitude to spending. Communicate with each other so that you both understand where the other person is coming from.
Be prepared to compromise sometimes
It can be difficult if one person likes to spend freely and the other is more cautious but there could be a middle ground that could work for both of you. ‘We all have a dominant money personality,’ says Jean. ‘Some of us are givers, carefree, spontaneous while others are planners or need security. The more you individually lean towards the other person the better the balance will be. Meeting in the middle is a healthy response.’
Set financial goals and revisit them
We live in a ‘now’ culture, where credit cards and loans make it all too easy to buy things straight away. Saving up and having a financial target is a much more rewarding and sensible way of buying new items.
Make sure you’re financially protected
Think about what would happen if one of you was unable to work due to illness or injury. Consider taking out income protection or critical illness cover to protect you.
Income protection pays out a regular monthly sum covering part of your salary if you can’t work due to illness or injury while critical illness pays out a tax-free lump sum in one go if you are diagnosed with a serious illness. It’s worth looking into both types of cover to ensure you’re covered in the event of the unexpected. MB Associates can advise you on both.