You are told that money will make you happy. Maybe, you didn’t have much money growing up, or maybe you had everything. Whatever the case, you need to define your relationship with money, and not let it control you.
We live in a country that puts a high value on money. This can leave you feeling like you don’t have enough. You really can’t buy love. Money cannot replace the time you spend with your loved ones. It also can’t take back the past or predict the future.
The truth of the matter, is you need money to survive in this country. It will put a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food on the table. This is something everybody needs. So, why is money the root of all evils? For many, money is power and status. You really need to be careful here. If you idolize people with money, you will not see them for who they really are.
Here are 6 types of financial stress in a relationship:
- The comparison game. It’s easy to compare your relationship to others. Do you have as much money as them? What is their house like? Do their kids go to private schools? The list goes on. When you compare your relationship to others, you will always feel disappointed. The truth is everyone is at a different spot in life. It’s also true that everyone didn’t start at the same spot.
- You don’t talk about money. This is a really important topic to discuss in your relationship. If you have to set up a time to have a meeting about it. You definitely want to have done this before moving in together. Will you have a joint checking and savings account? What are your credit scores? Will you invest or put money into a savings account? How much money will go for fun? This doesn’t have to be a painful area in your relationship. But, if you don’t talk about it, it will.
- You keep money secrets from each other. Many couples report hiding their spending habits from their partner. This can feel like a betrayal in the relationship. Communication is important in this area. You should feel comfortable bearing your financial soul to your partner, without judgment.
- You are separating the money and splitting the bills. Marriage is a partnership. Both parties need to be involved with the finances. Don’t use money as power or keep it all to yourself. Work on the budget together. You both have dreams, and most of the time you need money to support them. The last thing you want is a power struggle here, this can destroy a perfectly good relationship.
- You have different financial priorities. You both need to be responsible with money. One person shouldn’t always have to monitor the other’s spending. You need to talk about your financial priorities. If one person wants to save for a trip to Spain, while the other drops $500 on a night out with friends. Then, there is a fundamental difference. You need to trust your partner with finances. It’s much easier when the two of you have similar goals.
- You have a lot of unsecured debt. You are a slave to your credit cards. This means you use them a lot, but you aren’t able to pay them down. This leaves you paying a lot in interest. It also makes it harder to get out of debt. When you have less debt, you have a happier relationship. Sometimes, being frugal can actually pay off. Start to use coupons and buy things on sale. This will pay off in the long run.
I want you to define what money means to you, and I want you to talk about this with your partner. Dig deep here. Start with your family of origin. What are their beliefs about money? Did you grow up with nothing, or did you grow up with everything? Keep going, is money about wealth and status? Ask yourself, how far you would go to make a lot of money?
Money problems don’t have to divide you. With a little hard work you can come to a compromise. This is an area where things can change. Learn to accept influence from your partner about money.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many couples resolve their money problems, and have a reasonably happy relationship. For a free 15 minute phone consultation or more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.