According to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC), disagreements over financial matters ranked highest on its list of relationship stressors. Disputes between couples about money management can begin as early as the first date, but they become detrimental to relationships if left unaddressed. As the years go by, what could have started as a constructive conversation about finance becomes a heated battle over who is right.
The survey also found that conflicts over financial infidelity, thriftiness and overspending can contribute to stress in a relationship. But no matter the challenges, “the best approach is to start communicating early,” says Bruce Clary, NFCC. “Understanding those differences means having honest discussions early in a relationship so the rules are mutually accepted and the financial goals are clear.”
Fight back against financial relationship stressors with these tips:
- Be honest with yourself and each other when it comes to financial matters. As financial challenges appear, work together to address them directly instead of ignoring problems and wishing they will resolve themselves.
- Establish money rules for the relationship and hold each other accountable. Discuss what will be jointly managed and set rules for making independent spending decisions.
- Don’t conceal debt or sources of income from each other. Adhere to a policy of financial transparency to strengthen trust in the relationship.
- Set a time and place where financial matters can be discussed on a regular basis, free of distractions.
- Keep the tone of the conversation casual, and remain open to what each other has to say.
- If a disagreement should go unresolved during a conversation, take a moment to find acceptable ways to compromise or consider revisiting the issue after a short time-out.
- If a financial mistake is made, couples should work together to find solutions without assigning blame. Be willing to accept a fair share of the responsibility for the problem and the solution.
- When tracking joint financial goals, understand that changing circumstances require a degree of flexibility from both partners in a relationship.
- Understand that a single financial setback impacting one person ultimately affects the entire relationship, no matter how large or small the issue.
Published with permission from RISMedia.