5 Financial Tips to Keep Money from Ruining Your Relationship

BY: - 3 Aug '17 | Money

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By: Dr. George James

Some say that money is the root of all evil while others believe the love of money is the source of all evil.  In loving committed relationships, money can become the evil that breaks the couple up.  In a healthy relationship, it is important for the couple to talk about money, discuss spending habits, figure out how to pay bills together and develop a budget to help with future goals.

 

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This is not an innate process, like any other aspect of a romantic relationship.  Both members of the relationship will have different perspectives on the role of money in their relationship.

  • One person wants to save, the other wants to spend.
  • One wants a budget and the other wants to be care free.
  • One is considered cheap/frugal while the other has expensive taste.
  • One person has a Roth IRA and savings while the other person has mounting credit card debt.

The financial imprint from our family, friends and society can manifest itself not only in clear obvious ways but in deeper subconscious ways as well.

The disparities aren’t as polarizing as this seems, but there are differences that each couple should pay attention to in order to reduce money battles and tension in the relationship.  As the tension builds over the course of the relationship, the couple starts to experience power struggles.  “I make the money, so I make the decisions,” or “I take care of the kids, so I make decisions,” or “I worked hard this week, and I deserve to treat myself.”

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Most of our perspectives on money come from what we witnessed throughout our lives.  How our family, and sometimes friends, used or misused money can shape our thoughts and actions.  The financial imprint from our family, friends and society can manifest itself not only in clear obvious ways but in deeper subconscious ways as well.  These conscious and subconscious experiences with money can create a divide between you and your partner without the proper tools.

5 Financial Tips to Keep Money from Ruining Your Relationship

  1. Talk it Out – Talk sooner rather than later about your views, values and perspectives about money.
  2. Listen Before You Dismiss – Before you dismiss or reject what your partner has to say, try to listen to her/him. Think about what might have influenced their perspective. Ask questions to get a clearer picture.
  3. Plan for the Future – Work on a plan for your money. For most people that means developing a budget.  This could also include working with a financial planner.
  4. Make the Commitment – Commit to whatever plan you both come up with. If not, you will only sabotage your end goal.
  5. Have Fun – Leave room to have fun. Set money aside to go on dates, vacations, activities, shopping and other fun things.

In Shopping, the fourth episode, of the new web series Funny Married Stuff we highlight the dynamic mentioned above as a couple uses a humorous approach to discuss who spends the most, how they will work to save towards a goal and how their love & support for each other outweighs their different perspectives on money.

Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation as the couple in the episode or you relate to the example above.  Here are some steps you can take to discuss money, it’s role in your relationship, your financial goals, how to overcome power struggles, and how to show each other love and support instead of resentment when money comes up.

For more episodes and information about Funny Married Stuff go to www.funnymarriedstuff.com and www.youtube.com/funnymarriedstuff.

Dr. George James, LMFT speaks, counsels, consults, coaches and teaches people how to overcome difficult relationships problems and build successful happy connections. James has been a reoccurring expert on many radio, TV and online programs. He is also a reoccurring relationship contributor to Ebony magazine. James is a staff therapist and an AAMFT-approved supervisor at Council For Relationships.  Find out more about Dr. George James at GeorgeTalks.com.

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BMWK Staff wrote 1243 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

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Marriage and Money: 4 Easy Steps to Financial Closeness with Your Spouse

BY: - 15 Aug '17 | Money

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This is part of a sponsored campaign with Wells Fargo. All opinions are my own.

Recently, I had such a wonderful time sitting on BMWK’s Financial Intimacy panel sponsored by Wells Fargo.  Founders of BMWK, Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, strategically positioned this discussion as the kick-off event to their 3rd annual BMWK Marriage Cruise—to make it clear that financial connection, closeness, and transparency is a cornerstone of happy marriages.

FROM L TO R: Lamar and Ronnie Tyler – founders of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, Kara Stevens - founder of TheFrugalFeminista.com, and Tracy A. Tynes – Wells Fargo Miami Regional Brokerage Manager discuss how couples can achieve financial intimacy during a panel discussion during the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Fl on July 29, 2017.

FROM L TO R: Lamar and Ronnie Tyler – founders of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, Kara Stevens – founder of TheFrugalFeminista.com, and Tracy A. Tynes – Wells Fargo Miami Regional Brokerage Manager discuss how couples can achieve financial intimacy during a panel discussion during the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Fl on July 29, 2017.

Step 1. Create shared financial goals.

The exciting thing about having a life partner is that you get to co-create aspirations and dreams: own a home, slay debt, get a PhD, start a business, retire by 40, have a huge family, vacation in the Caribbean four times a year.

What’s even more exciting than having shared dreams is creating an action plan and budget to reach them because every dream has a price tag. When you sit down to speak to your spouse about your individual goals and your common goals, please use the following guidelines to organize your conversation:

  1. Think about your short-term goals which you want to reach within one year.
  2. Think about mid-term goals which will take between two-five years to achieve.
  3. Think about long-term goals which usually take at least five years to realize.

    Couples listen intently during the "How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

    Couples listen intently during the “How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

Step 2. Execute a plan that will move goals from the start to finish line.

Creating shared financial goals is only the first step of engendering financial intimacy in your marriage. Once you’ve identified what you’re pursuing, the next step is to discuss the “how” and “when”:

  1. Create a timetable for each goal. In my experience, I work backwards: I set a realistic date for achieving any of my goals. After the date is set, I’m able to create milestones along the way. For example, if I have a short-term goal of saving $12,000 twelve months from now, I’ll be able to figure out that I would need $1,000 every month or $250 every week until I fill my money pot.
  2. Review your progress consistently to determine if you need to adjust your timeline. Wells Fargo created this simple yet effective financial worksheet to keep you organized and focused.

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Step 3. Take the stigma out of money talks.

One of the reasons that couples are not on the same page when it comes to their money (i.e committing financial infidelity) is because there are a lot of hidden messages, shrouded intentions, and ambivalence about financial disclosure. When you’re single, this financial baggage only affects you.  But when you’re married and with children, your inability to work through past financial money trauma and mixed messages will directly impact your family’s ability to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals. Try any of these easy ways to help take the edge off money conversations:

  1. Share one article from a site like The Frugal Feminista and Black and Married with Kids about a money topic of interest. Make sure the article is short, engaging, and easy to understand. It will be easy for you to read, easy for you to share, and easy for you to take action.
  2. Give each other financial compliments. No matter how dysfunction you think you are when it comes to money, you do something, even if it’s a small thing, well. Give props for organizing the mail, packing lunch for work, setting up bills payment, calling a creditor, saving at the grocery store, finding great online resources like Wells Fargo’s Hands On Banking tool and Budget Watch or brainstorming an additional stream of income.
  3. Create a “money talk” calendar: Similar to a social calendar, a “money talk” calendar schedules dates and times for discussing your family’s financial goals. Bring your best to these talks: heels, cologne, and desire. Make it sexy. Consider a “budgets in bed” breakfast or a “money, wine, and cheese” dinner to bring some zest to the topic.
Couples listen intently during the "How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

Couples listen intently during the “How to Establish Financial Intimacy” panel discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo at the kickoff session of the 3rd Annual BMWK Marriage Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 29, 2017.

Step 4. Ask an expert.

It’s an asset to be open and honest about what you know and need to know when it comes to money; not only to yourself, but also to your spouse. If you and your partner realize that you need more guidance, consider enlisting the expertise of a financial advisor; using financial advisors like the ones at Wells Fargo can help bring clarity to competing financial goals and provide free or low-cost resources for you to incorporate into your family’s money management arsenal.

You can have financial intimacy in your marriage. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But just like anything else that is worthwhile you have to put in the work. And the “work” begins with opening your heart and bank statements to see how you and your spouse can grow together in all ways, spiritually, emotionally, and financially, through clear communication, goal-setting, and follow-through.

wellsfargoDisclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Wells Fargo.  BMWK has collaborated with them on a Couples Financial Empowerment Series that started with the Financial Intimacy Panel in Fort Lauderdale, FL and will continue with two awesome webinars later this year.  All opinions are my own.

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 142 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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