It’s a commonly known fact that money troubles are one of the major contributors to divorce and relationship breakdown. Debt and relationships are a combination for financial issues. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. You can avoid an awful lot of conflict that centres on debt and relationships, money management and financial priorities simply by communicating effectively.
“When you are committed to each other as a couple, you need to be committed to a united front when it comes to your finances. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to agree on every point, but you do need to find common ground with some guidelines and agreement around goals,” says Jeff Schwartz executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“You need to assign roles and rules. Who pays the bills and tracks spending? When is it ok to use credit? For which purchase amount do you need to consult each other? It’s a good idea to swap roles once in a while, so there is a shared sense of power and responsibility,” says Schwartz
Here are some talking points to cover:
Nothing good will come from hiding financial information from your partner. When they find out (and chances are they will) not only will your secret be out anyways, but you will have damaged the trust in the relationship.
Lay out all of your debts and assets on the table. Not only will this strengthen your communication, if there are debts that your partner isn’t aware of, they will pull away from achieving your goal.
What’s the score?
While you’re in the sharing mood, what does your partner’s and your credit score look like? Are there are bumps on the road in the credit past? Over time, credit scores can be repaired, but that needs to be addressed and a plan needs to be put in place. Don’t forget, when applying for things like a mortgage to buy a home together, both of your credit scores will count.
It’s amazing how your attitude towards credit can shape your spending and savings habits. It also can be the source of resentment in a relationship. If you’re a spender, you might feel like your partner is a wet blanket. And if you’re a saver, the thought of spending beyond your means likely causes you a great deal of stress.
Start by establishing specific goals, and then determining a budget that will get you there. Respect each other’s differences, but understand how your individual saving and/or spending plays a direct role in achieving your goals.
Another way of getting around the spending/saving differences is to establish a set amount in your monthly budget dedicated to non-essential spending in cash, if you can afford it. It gives you some wiggle room if need be, while providing a balanced amount of independence too.
Are you or your partner coming into your relationship with a substantial amount of debt? Set your relationship up for success- financial and otherwise by getting those debts paid down quickly. Call us today at or visit our free online debt analysis.