Resolving Financial Disputes With Your Significant Other
Being in a committed relationship comes with many perks and benefits, and most people enjoy sharing their lives and belongings with their spouse or partner. When it comes to sharing finances, however, problems can often arise due to different spending priorities, financial personalities, and money circumstances. It’s not uncommon for couples to have a disagreement every once in awhile about money, but knowing how to discuss and resolve these types of issues can help them build a stronger and more united foundation.
There are several tasks that may help couples learn each other’s unique spending and savings habits and priorities, which may help them settle existing disputes and circumvent future issues.
Put everything on the table
Financial infidelity is more common that many people may think, and hiding secrets from your loved one can only increase the risk of arguments and jeopardize trust. So whether couples are hiding secret accounts, debt, low credit scores or separate savings accounts, it’s important for individuals to get all their skeletons out of the closet to determine how to move forward. While this may be the most difficult step in resolving a dispute, it can take the stress off of both partners and allow them to start exploring solutions and reestablish trust.
Create a budget together
Couples have different strategies for divvying up financial responsibilities. You may choose to pay bills together, assign one partner to pay expenses or divide different costs. Regardless of how you choose to meet these obligations, one joint action you and your loved one may benefit from taking is developing a budget together. This allows each person to know what amount of income is coming in, which expenses need to be paid first, how much this will leave them for the month and what can be spent on discretionary purchases. In doing so, couples can avoid financial surprises, overdrawn accounts or missed payments.
Discuss your priorities
Issues can arise when couples have competing goals, rather than a uniform set of priorities. For instance, one person may want to focus on paying off credit card debt, while the other wants to pad their savings or retirement accounts. By discussing these goals and reaching a compromise, couples can ensure that their individual needs are being met. For instance, you might want to focus on chipping away at your student loans until the balance falls to a more manageable payment, and then devote more of your income to a joint savings account.
Jessica Williams is Consolidated Credit’s Marketing Communications New Media Coordinator. As a member of the education team, Jessica focuses on helping consumers make better financial decisions while living debt-free. She has previously worked with Take Stock In Children, where she was a mentor and communications specialist, and SouthPromo.com, where she managed community relations, event planning, marketing, and public relations. Jessica attended both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida where she received her B.S. in Interpersonal/Organizational Communications and Marketing. Connect with Jessica on Google+.