One of the traditional ideals of love is that neither person will take on anything alone including finances. Last I checked you do not enter a relationship with the idea that you will act entirely out of individual interest, much less a marriage or other committed relationship. Your money may legally be separate, but the moment you start thinking in the terms of “my money” for more than three days, your relationship is over. In this post I will give some couple money management tips I have accumulated.
Acknowledge Both Of Your Goals
Just because you and your partner are together does not mean you are the same person. One of the greatest paradoxes of the world is love. It is a situation where people come together and are better than they were apart, yet are better as individuals at the same time. If that does not make sense to you, do not worry it was never meant to make sense.
However, whoever you share love with has different goals than you. You may share some goals, but unless your loved one is a clone of yourself you will never have the same goals. Consider my steps to obtain a PhD. Would you support someone who wants to obtain a PhD? Some of you may like the idea of being in a relationship with a doctor, but you can ask my wife, the journey to obtain my PhD was rocky. She had to deal with times where I was angry and in self-doubt because of some of my failures. She had no desire to push her formal education any further, but she cared because I did. That is a rare blessing. Believe it or not, but even the strongest relationships do not require the other to support your goals.
Discuss Your Goals
The best couple money management advice I can give is to discuss your goals. And I am not just talking about goals like improving your finances or yourselves, that is too broad. Be as specific as possible. Do you want a specific car, a specific job, live in a particular area, do you want to own a house, have kids? These are just some broadly applied examples of goals practically every couple should talk about. Once again, be as specific as possible, it not only will help you avoid surprises, but then you can talk about how to reach your goals.
Prepare To Come Up With Solutions
Most goals cost money, especially some that people call the largest steps in life. It almost doesn’t matter what your income is, it is unlikely you can reach all your goals at the time you want, exactly as you would like them. Even if you could, chances are at least one of your goals may not agree with your partner’s goals. For instance, you may want to own a 4 bedroom house, but your partner may not need that much space, or cannot have that house at a reasonable price near their work. Would you be ok with a 3 bedroom house or an apartment that will be close to your partner’s work, or will your partner be ok with a longer commute or working more from home?
Neither person should be fully complacent with the other person’s needs. You both need to discuss a way to reach both of your needs. A win-win solution would be preferable, but admittedly, you should be prepared to change a certain aspect of your lifestyle, at least a little. There are some things you may have to dismiss or lower in priority to achieve the win-win solution.
Stand Your Ground While Being Flexible
You should be flexible with your goals in order to find solutions, but stand your ground if flexibility is not enough. Never give up who you are just for your partner’s goals. Your partner must return that flexibility. If you cannot both be happy with your goals, you may have to consider if you should grow on different paths.
I know it sounds like a paradox to be flexible while standing your ground. Last I checked love itself is a paradox. You must find answers to these paradoxes in order for them to work.
Share The Burden
It is easy to believe that just because you have different goals that you should have separate burdens and especially expenses and debts. Do not believe that, not even for an instant. Not only will taking on the burdens of the person you love be beneficial to them, it will be beneficial to you.
Bringing up what you need to pay for will help to illustrate what obstacles you will face together. Furthermore, you and your partner will be more transparent with their debts and expenses. In my experience, hiding problems from the people you care about is difficult. If you and your partner show little hostility towards each other you will both find transparency to be the best solution. Transparency is key in couple money management because you cannot solve problems or reach goals without knowing what either are.
Show Your Partner You Value Them
In today’s society it appears that the value people assign to you is equal to your paycheck. If you care about the person at all beyond their money, you truly value them beyond their paycheck. I do not know anyone personally who only values people based off their paychecks, those type of people would never be my friends. What is hard is to show people that you value them beyond their paychecks. If people truly feel valued beyond their income, why is it that when people face financial stress, they feel distressed? If your partner feels valued beyond their income they should not feel distressed because of an income strain.
It is completely normal for them to feel stressed in situations like income strain, but they should never feel paralyzed from such an income strain. Couple money management is just as important when there is less money to manage as when there is money to manage. What better way is there to show someone you love them than to ease them when they feel cornered?
A relationship is not just supposed to be build on purely professional nor financial benefits. You must both be happy. Recreation is important. Have the occasional date night, even if you can only fit $10 in the budget.
Being in a loving relationship is very difficult. If it was not, some people would not be adamantly, neigh grudgingly single. For some people such romantic relationships may even be impossible.
If you expect to be in a romantic relationship, you must embrace that you are two people who are not completely separated. I like to think a relationship is like removing a wall between two individuals. It should make matters clear and allow the two to share their lives yet allow the two individuals to be two individuals. To maintain this, transparency must be allowed. If there is any malice between a couple, the transparency is an illusion. Yeah, I know more paradoxes.
Any relationship you have is an alliance. You must be able to work with and trust the person you share a relationship with. If you find the one person you want a more permanent relationship with, they should be the inspiration to spark your path to forge your wealth.