Mine, Yours, Or Ours? How To Share Finances In A Long-Term Relationship
November 29, 2018 09:16 By Fabiosa
Any couple who makes up their mind to build a serious long-term relationship has to face a lot of challenges, including the problem of sharing finances. According to a survey conducted by American experts, 35% of surveyed couples view this problem as the main cause of the majority of conflicts. Although it may seem absolutely normal for some people to share a budget with their partners, other couples find this issue quite controversial.
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When people are in a new relationship, they can share costs equally or in a way that works for them both. This sounds normal, doesn't it? If you initiate going to a cafe or to the movies, you are usually willing to take care of the expenses. Real conflicts arise when partners start planning a life together. In most cases, they tend to fight due to their different attitudes towards income, expenses, and financial habits. After all, it is hard for two independent people to get used to someone else's habits and lifestyle. For example, what should you do if you want to eat out while your partner prefers to prepare meals at home? Whatever the reason for a conflict between you and your partner, don't forget that communication is key to understanding, so honest talks are what you need to start with.
Causes of conflicts over money
Each person has their own financial history. When it comes to building a long-term relationship, you may want to hide some of the aspects of your financial life. This may be an old debt you are still paying off, the result of an impulsive purchase, or spending too much money on your hobbies (for example, having equipment that needs constant updating). If you are in a relationship, you are responsible for your partner too. So you'd better consider giving up some of your old habits that can negatively affect your life together in some way.
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Conflicts may arise for various reasons:
- One of the partners earns more money, while the other partner disposes of large sums of money at their own discretion, which is wrong from an ethical point of view.
- Different goals can also cause a conflict between spouses. If you want to save money for the future, while your partner prefers to enjoy the benefits of life here and now, you certainly have something to talk about.
- Hiding information about one's income is a sign of low trust between partners.
- The emotional factor can also become a cause of misunderstanding. While women perceive money as a means of acquiring things, most men associate money with power.
- Extremely high costs for personal needs, which may affect the welfare of the family - it can also lead to conflict between spouses.
The issue of a family budget is definitely worthy of a serious and detailed discussion. Partners can have a joint family budget irrespective of the incomes of the spouses. At the same time, each of the spouses has the right to dispose of the joint funds either in agreement with the other partner or at their own discretion. It should be noted that this principle will work for couples who trust each other and are ready for compromises. Otherwise, each partner can have their own small sum of money for personal expenses. A more absolute solution is to spend only your own money on your own expenses. However, in this case too, you can't avoid disagreements on household issues. After all, how do you decide how much money each partner has to spend on food, hygiene items, home decor, joint leisure activities, etc.? Nevertheless, it is always possible to resolve any dispute by honestly discussing your own preferences and expectations.
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Having an effective discussion about finances
It is always easier to prevent a conflict than to try to resolve one. Financial issues are not exceptions to this rule. So you'd better make things clear before starting a life together. Below are a few simple tips to help you make your family experience better.
1. Ideal lifestyle
Even when you seem to know your partner well enough to start a life together, some of their principles and habits may be radically different from yours. To make your life more comfortable for both partners, you should have frequent talks about your lifestyle, leisure, career aspirations, and general expectations.
2. Managing your income in a detailed way
To effectively plan your family budget, you can arrange your monthly budget in a detailed way. Don't forget to review all the major purchases for the month (for example, purchasing household appliances or travel tickets).
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3. Splitting property
Once we are serious about a relationship, we want to believe the fairy-tale will never end. However, there is no way you can be sure that your relationship is going to last a lifetime. When you are about to break up, you have to face the acute and unpleasant problem of dividing property. A break-up will be less troublesome if partners make things clear in advance. For example, a good strategy is to agree to sell all the joint property and equally divide the money between the two. If one partner has invested more money than the other partner, they can take a bigger share.
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Choose a convenient moment when you are both in a good mood and not burdened by financial problems to start an honest conversation. Discuss the aspects of life that are important to both of you, for example, buying a new house, annual holidays, children's education, your attitude to your current or future debt obligations, etc.
5. Conversations about financial issues do not tolerate emotionality
Mutual reproaches and accusations take you too far away from finding a solution and showing compromise. Nobody can be sure they won't lose their job all of a sudden, will not get ill, or will not have to help their elderly parents. Objectivity and not being afraid of being misunderstood or ridiculed are your best assistants in this case. Put your emotions aside and openly discuss the situation, short- and long-term perspectives, and the influence of different events on your family life.
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6. Taking responsibility
Money "loves" calculation and order, and one person can effectively manage the family budget. But it is also possible to keep a joint journal of expenses. Nowadays, there are many financial applications that can help greatly. If your partner's approach to money and expenses does not coincide with your own, you'd better follow our tip. This means that the bulk of your family funds will be used as a joint budget (for buying necessary products and household items or planning leisure activities). At the same time, each partner will have a small amount of money for personal needs.
7. Reaction to changes
You may think you have already managed to develop a system of financial management that suits both yourself and your partner, but force majeure events may unexpectedly ruin your system. For example, a partner may acquire a new hobby or may want to continue their education or choose a lower-paying job. Undoubtedly, this kind of situation affects the entire family. In this case, you can review your joint budget and determine a precise amount of money for the family budget.
8. Honesty and a positive attitude
To avoid upsetting and worrying our loved ones, we tend to hide the fact that we are having any troubles. But you need to keep in mind that a couple is a team! You can't be happy if your team member is in trouble. Family happiness is when you can fully trust your partner. After all, you have so many mutual goals and aspirations. Don't try to find who is to blame for a tough time. You'd better focus on finding the right solution.
Of course, conversations about financial issues are an awkward thing. But you'd better make clarifications at the very beginning of your relationship if you don't want to face disappointment. After all, financial issues accompany us throughout our lives, and we can't but cope with this aspect of life if we want to lead a peaceful life with our loved ones. If you manage to gradually achieve your desired level of financial independence, your family life will become much more harmonious!
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.