*insert stat here about marriages that end in divorce due to money*
*insert stat here about how the number one cause of fights with couples is money*
Why does money seem to cause so many problems in relationships? Why does it always seem awkward to bring up and talk about?
It's likely because of the way we were raised. For some reason, we are taught not to talk about money because it's private. Then you add the extra layer of the fact that we each grow up learning about money differently, seeing how our parents handle money and we each form our own thoughts and blueprints for money that are completely different than anyone else. The best part? ALL that happens subconsciously so we don't even realize that we have these blueprints.
So you can imagine what happens when two people from completely different backgrounds and with completely different thoughts around money come together, start living together and have to now handle their finances together.
Now, we aren't married but we've been in a serious relationship for almost 4 years and we've been living together and sharing expenses for about 3 of those years.
So here are our top 4 tips for handling money in a relationship:
One - There's no place for embarrassment.
Don't be embarrassed about your current money situation or even your current money mindset. We all grow up and interpret the world around us differently and we also have different "truths" about money. Your views on how to handle money will certainly differ from your partners.
So, don't be embarrassed about any past "money mistakes". Like so what, you made a few stupid purchases or have a ton of student debt. All that matters is that you two get on the same page and start working toward a common goal (even if you aren't married yet).
Two - Keep your finances separate.
Yes, you may be working toward a common goal (i.e. becoming debt free) but that does NOT mean you should combine finances (at least not until you say "I Do").
I understand that everyone's circumstances are different, but in most cases, combining your money too soon can lead to wayyyy more fights than necessary. And not to mention it can be a big mess if you decide to go your separate ways.
Three - Don't nickel and dime each other.
"The tab comes to $62.30, you gonna throw in $31.15?" Not the best way to end a nice dinner...
Cody and I, of course, try to split expenses as evenly as possible (since we both make about the same amount of money) BUT we do not keep a running tally. "Oh I bought dinner yesterday so you need to buy dinner tonight." or "I always buy the cat food! When are you going to chip in?!"
There's a fine balance that the relationship has to find. For example, yes, I usually do always buy the cat food BUT Cody usually always buys milk, bananas, and eggs each week. So, in the end, it evens out.
Four (& maybe the most important) - Schedule monthly money dates!
At the beginning of each month, I will send Cody a calendar invite for a one hour "Net Worth Check-in" Peep this month's meeting agenda:
This has been so so important for our relationship. It's brought us closer together and we have learned so much about each other in the process. It holds us accountable for our own personal money goals and gives us an opportunity to encourage the other with their goals.
Look, money is EASILY one of the most contentious areas of any relationship. The key is communication. Understand where you're at financially. Money, whether we like it or not, is LITERALLY the biggest sticking point in any relationship.
The most important thing is to just start talking about it! It may be weird and feel icky at first, but we promise it will get easier!
&& if you don't know how to bring this topic up to them...just send them this article! Duh :)
Thanks so much for reading,
Madison & Cody
P.S. Check-out Madison's 1:1 Money Coaching Program which is now open for enrollment!