10 money tips for a healthy relationship

The most common argument couples have in Australia is about money. When couples have different attitudes towards money and they don’t have calm, rational discussions about money together, it can be a recipe for disaster.

Regardless of how much you love each other, merging your lives financially can be tricky. But with these 10 tips, you can have a happy, healthy relationship, and not argue about money.

1. Set financial goals together

Having a goal will change the way you both look at your money, and the attitude you have towards it. Your goals as a couple may differ from the goals of another couple and depend on the stage of your life and your relationship.

Whether it is your goal as a couple to get married, buy a house, plan for children, pay off your home or get ready for retirement, it is important that you both get on the same page. After all, as a couple you are a team, and it is a lot easier to work as one when you are open and clear on what you are working towards.

2. Discuss lifestyle choices together

Your idea of a great lifestyle might be completely different to your partner’s idea of a great lifestyle in some or many ways. For example, you might be perfectly happy buying your clothes from an op shop, while your partner might insist on only buying name brands.

Or maybe you like eating home cooked meals every night but your partner enjoys going out to new restaurants regularly.

Differences in lifestyle preferences may need compromises. If your partner wants the name brands, maybe you can agree on doing the clothes shopping at a department store during sales to get them at a cheaper price. If you like eating at home and your partner likes eating out, you could compromise by scheduling a dinner out once per week.

The bottom line is, your lifestyle needs to line up with your actual income, and you can’t spend more than you earn.

3. Create a budget you both agree on

Let’s face it, budgets suck. But they are one of the most important tools in working towards a financial goal, especially as a couple.

A budget isn’t the bad guy that tells you not to spend your money – it’s a plan that gives you permission to spend it the right way.

Having an effective budget in place as a couple, means you can plan where your money will go, including towards those lifestyle compromises and that all important goal.

Asset101 understands that putting together a budget sounds fairly basic. However, our experience is that most people struggle to put together an effective budget.

In response to this need, Asset101 has an online budget tracker, which doesn’t just incorporate your income and expenses, it incorporates your debt and your goals, and brings it all together into something that is easy to understand. Most importantly it actually means something in relation to the achievement of your goals.

4. Schedule budget date nights

Have you ever created a budget with great intentions and then forgot it even existed a few months later? You wouldn’t be alone.

Set a night of the week where you and your partner sit down and see where you are at in relation to your budget so far for the month. This doesn’t have to be an all-night operation – 10 minutes is all you need.

On Asset101’s Financial Coaching Program, you will use an Online Budget Tracker, which will feed all of your transactions from all of your financial institutions and automatically categorise them and you can see at a glance how much of each budget category you have spent at any point during the month.

This allows you and your partner to have meaningful conversations around your money, without the need to spend hours figuring out what you are spending.

Asset101 Online Budget Tracker

5. Engage with a Financial Coach

Sometimes when we are too close t

o our finances, we tend to make more emotional decisions rather than smart decisions. A Financial Coach will give you and your partner an objective perspective, accountability and focus to achieve your goals.

An Asset101 Financial Coach will help you to create your budget, give you the tools to manage your day to day spending and track it against your budget, and meet with you every month to keep you accountable and focused on achieving your goals.

6. Consider sharing a joint bank account

On your wedding day, the pastor says, “Two will become one,” for a reason. It can be very difficult to stay “one” if you have separate bank accounts, argue about money all the time, and face constant financial stress in your marriage.

Putting your money together and looking at it as a whole can make the management of your everyday finances and budgeting a whole lot simpler.

A study conducted by Joe Gladstone of University of London, Emily Garbinsky of Notre Dame and Cassie Mogilner Holmes of UCLA Anderson, found that long-term committed couples who pool all their money into joint

bank accounts are happier in their relationship and less likely to break up, compared to couples that keep some or all of their money separate.

But a word of caution: don’t rush! This is not appropriate for new relationships that are not in the “serious” stage or marriage stage. If the relationship ends, it can get messy to separate the finances if all the money is pooled together.

7. Recognise your money personality differences

Everyone’s money mindset is different – some people enjoy looking at numbers, some people hate it. Some people love to spend money, some people like to save. And our money mindset can be formed from many different factors during our lives. You might have grown up in a frugal family, so are a saver, while your partner may love spending money in the moment. You might believe debt is bad and feel that you have to hide credit card debt from your partner, while your partner may be a great forward planner who has been through the experience of paying off debt before and may be able to help you.

By understanding each other’s money mindset, you can have more compassion with each other, communicate with each other about money calmly, work together to find solutions and get on the same page, and support each other on your journey to achieving your goals.

Neglecting to understand and appreciate each other’s mindsets and hear each other’s point of view, may cause issues in your relationship and with your finances.

It is important to have open conversations about money as a couple, listen to one another’s point of view, and make joint decisions as a team to help you move towards the achievement of your common goal. If one of you are a spender, one of your joint decisions may be including a li

ttle bit of fun money in the budget.

8. Don’t let salary differences come between you.

In most relationships, one partner will make more money than the other. Again, in a committed relationship, you are a team, and it should be “our money”, not “yours” or “mine”.

Sometimes the partner earning more money might feel entitled to more say when it comes to making decisions around finances or purchases. That’s just asking for trouble.

And on the other end of the spectrum, often the stay-at-home-parent feels guilt if they spend money on anything other the bare basics. Again, they should not feel this way and are providing so much value to the family in other ways, including saving money on childcare.

In a committed relationship, both partners should have equal say regardless of how much each of you make. Remember, YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM!

9. Keep purchases out in the open.

Honesty is so important in a relationship – and that absolutely includes about your finances. Having a secret bank account or credit card that your partner doesn’t know about is deceitful and can lead to loss of trust in a relationship.

If you have a secret side bank account or a credit card that you are hiding from your partner, it’s time to own up. Start a conversation, work hard to re-establish that trust, and recommit to your shared goal.

Again, remember you are a team.

10. Don’t let the kids become the boss

You love your kids, and it’s natural that you would want them to have the best life possible. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spoil them with expensive gifts and buy them everything they ask for. They won’t learn many of their own lessons about money that way.

You need to have a conversation with your partner about not only all the things you need to budget for in relation to the kids, such as school fees, sports fees, uniforms, clothes etc., but what you plan to do when they ask for things, like the latest computer game or toy.

Some couples may decide to simply say “no”, others might add the requests to Christmas and Birthday gifts lists, others might keep a small amount in their budget for ‘ad-hoc’ wants from the kids.

However, you decide to plan it, make sure you decide as a team, and that kids aren’t running the show.

You need to have a conversation with your partner about not only all the things you need to budget for in relation to the kids, such as school fees, sports fees, uniforms, clothes etc., but what you plan to do when they ask for things, like the latest computer game or toy.

* The information contained in this report is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs.


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