How to avoid a money meltdown with your partner

It makes the world go around, but money can be the source of serious problems among couples, in some cases leading to total relationship breakdowns. Of course it’s not the money per se that creates the issues, but rather our views surrounding it – our financial values and whether or not they’re compatible with those of the person we’ve chosen to spend our lives with.

Experts agree that money is one of the major contributing factors leading to separation.

Due to the potential outcomes or fallouts relating to financial management or lack thereof, whether that be buying your first home or surviving on one income after starting a family – arguments about money can be intense.

“The way we think about money represents some of our values, and problems can arise when these values clash,” says relationships councillor Susan De Campo.

“So, if one person believes it’s important to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible and the other person believes it’s important to have overseas holidays every two years, because you will not be able to do both, conflict arises.”

De Campo says couples with opposing financial values can make their relationship work, provided they engage in open and honest communication. The first step though is recognising your own attitude to money, as well as that of your partner. At a very basic level, that’s determining whether you’re a “saver” or a “spender”.

Once you’ve done that, it’s crucial to have the conversation in order to discover each other’s inherent values and belief systems associated with money and finance. Of course, discussions of this nature can deteriorate quickly if not approached with caution.

De Campo suggests underpinning your discussion with an attitude of ‘respectful curiosity’, bearing in mind that the way most people approach money is related to their parents’ financial personalities.

General conversations are a good place to start and once you do get down to the nitty-gritty, try to avoid using accusatory tones. If you disagree on a point, rather than become angry, try to use a question as a catalyst to analyse the issue further.

“A great question to ask is ‘can you help me understand that – it’s not an idea that I grew up with’,” says De Campo.

Accept that you’re different

Understand that different means just that. It doesn’t mean one person is right and the other is wrong. You can agree to disagree, providing you can recognise your individual attitudes and find a way to meet in the middle.

Allocate a “free spend” allowance

If money is tight, and especially if one half of the couple enjoys a frivolous spend, allocate a specific amount for discretionary purchases. Whether it’s per week or per month will depend on your how much disposable income is available, but keeping the value consistent, and removing limitations on what is being purchased, will reduce feelings of resentment down the track.

Draw up a budget

The benefits of developing a detailed budget are significant. Along with painting a clear picture of our financial health, as well as how much disposable income is left after bills and expenses are paid, a budget takes the guesswork out of financial discussions.

Be financially transparent

Trust is crucial for the success of any relationship, and the perception of dishonesty surrounding spending can prompt feelings of betrayal which can be difficult to overcome. Whether your bank accounts are joint or separate, being transparent with spending is important in maintaining a sense of intimacy and trust. Be honest from the beginning, including disclosing any debt or credit problems, and continue to be transparent, regardless of any disagreements.

Get professional help

If all else fails, seek the support of a financial professional. Financial advisers are used to having conversations with couples about these difficult matters and can assist in developing a plan that suits both parties.

 

Source: Macquarie Group Limited

 

 

 

Discover the benefits of a privately owned Licensee.

DOMINIC BENTLEY

CWP Wealth

“I have been with Capstone for over three years and have found them refreshing to deal with. They help you become the best version of your business. I can wholeheartedly commend Capstone to any planner.”

PAUL BRONSON

Bronson Financial Services

“At a time of industry upheaval, the support of Capstone has been a godsend. Everything they promised they delivered.If you are looking for a new licensee you cannot beat the Capstone service offering."

JASON DUDENAS

Canyon Financial Planning

“Capstone Financial Planning should be at the top of your list for a Licensee. Grant and his amazing team give a down to earth and personalised approach to supporting practices.”

MORGAN COLLINS

Lane Financial

“Capstone have some of the highest quality individuals in their team and it’s a pleasure to benefit from their insight and assistance. We really can’t recommend them enough to anyone considering a licensee.”

HELEN STEVENSON

Strategic Retirement Solutions

“I recommend Capstone to any adviser seeking to 'go out on their own'. They are a fabulous licensee!”

BOB CHEN

Everalls Wealth Management

“With Capstone I can operate my business free from conflict. They have no in-house products, a flexible APL, and an extensive list of SMA solutions. I recommend Capstone highly.”

JEANETTE SCHRAM

Nett Assets

“I can highly recommend Capstone for planners seeking an independent licensee that’s not in your face but provide quality support services. Their service and support is second to none and has allowed us to concentrate on providing our clients with a premium level of service.”

BEN DREW

Paradigm Principle

“Having been with Capstone for a number of years, one thing that really stands out is their willingness to help and can do attitude. These are qualities we really appreciate.”

JOEL BONES

IEC Advisory

“The team at Capstone are all genuinely really good people. They are remarkable with their service culture. They really do care what you think, and they are genuine about our joint success into the longer term.”

BEN MARSHALL

Benchmark Financial Planning

“During times of change, it has been reassuring to be with a licensee that regularly engages with advisers and takes feedback seriously.”

FIND A CAPSTONE ADVISER

PROUDLY ASSOCIATED WITH