February may be the shortest month of the year, but there’s still plenty going on to keep everyone busy. In keeping with Valentine’s Day, this month we’re reading up on how couples can successfully (and peacefully) manage their finances.
Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows that both merging and co-managing finances can be a source of stress and tension. We’ve been reading a recent study by Money magazine that revealed that 70% of couples fight about money above any other topic in their relationship. The study points to a key reason for this arguing: four out of five of us say we’re on the same page as our partner about finances, but when you dig a little deeper, the gaps and differences begin to show up. An overwhelming majority of respondents said they were much better than their partners at managing every aspect of finances – from paying the bills to handling retirement planning. In addition, most respondents would describe themselves as “savers” and their partners as “spenders.” These misconceptions make conversations spiral into arguments, which makes future financial talks even less appealing and less smooth.
Is there any hope to bridge these gaps? For starters, it’s helpful to know how to approach financial conversations. We found this video and article a helpful place to start. Most experts recommend making a commitment to consistently bring up the topic of finances, in a way that’s free of judgement and criticism. In some ways, the conversation has to be approached the way you would handle a professional meeting in your workplace — focused on the shared goals and end results, without getting overly personal. It sounds like easy advice, but we all know that when money comes into the conversation, keeping the tone business-like is easier said than done. In some cases a professional adviser may be a good idea. Having a third-party there – especially one who knows what your shared goals are — can help keep the conversation focused and can stop a couple from veering into personal attacks that are counterproductive to achieving financial harmony.
Our team has also been visiting this comprehensive “Love and Money” online portal, which offers couples-themed advice on topics including talking finances and understanding how income gaps affect your relationship.
If you’re looking for some outside help to bring some financial harmony to your life, The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is ready! We’ve been working to keep couples on track with their financial goals for over 30 years and would be happy to sit down with you and your partner. Make an investment in your relationship and contact us today.