By Kane Jiang
How to Manage Your Finances When You Don’t See Eye to Eye With Your Partner?
Your finances can produce a lot of stress and anxiety for singles on their own, but what about managing your finances as a couple, especially if you have different values on money. As a financial planner facing these issues daily, I think I can share a thing or two. Here are some steps that hopefully can help cool things down when your relationship is strained by money quarrels.
1. Think about why you came together in the first place.
What made you fall in love with your partner in the beginning? There must be those traits that you adore, those common vision and values that you share. Otherwise, why would you be together?
2. Focus on your common goals and vision.
Make these items the priority. Everything else are smaller matters, and if you are limited by resources, be prepared to give and take the smaller items. For example, husbands, can you have less pub crawls with your mates? Wives, can you spend less on jewellery and beauty products? Can we focus more on the children’s welfare?
3. Know that different attitudes to money is a good thing.
As a financial planner, I’d take on couples who have differing views any day, than couples who are clones to one another. This is because most times, the best solution is to have a balanced view on many issues. If you are a saver, you can’t just be focused on building your bank balance, for the sake of having a lot of money. You might become a bore, and be at risk of losing an opportunity of a lifetime to live your life with fulfilment. On the other hand, if you are a spender, you still need to think about the future and be prepared for rainy days. The jingle “Winter is coming” comes to mind.
4. Get to know your options.
Most issues come about when resources are limited, but wants are still aplenty. So the solution is, either you increase resources (create more income somehow), or reduce your wants (reduce spending). So what are your options to create more income? Work more hours? Take second job? Start a business? Make your money work harder by investing? What are your options to reduce spending? Live simpler? Relook at budgeting? Public schooling for kids? Pay off mortgage quicker?
5. Communicate often.
I often see couples would talk about all aspects of their relationship, all kinds of interests and events, but they never talk about money. It’s a bit of a taboo (I have a theory of where this taboo may have come from, but that’s for another day). The savers don’t have the guts to say anything as they don’t want to be seen as being a scrooge. The spenders don’t want to offend the partner by calling them “party pooper”. In my experience it is better to have a small argument, than to say nothing at all. Argue your case, nothing’s wrong with that! The more you know where each other comes from, the closer you will be, and the stronger your relationship will be with one another. Remember that you are in the same team. Teams communicate to win games! The conversation may not be pretty, but you won’t be second guessing each other. I personally prefer bad certainty over uncertainty.
6. Seek experts’ help.
Get help from objective third parties if you can’t find solutions and things are starting to get out of control. Of course, this is assuming you still love each other. There are many sources you can get advice from. Relationships Australia is one. You can try Adviser Ratings if you have general questions on finances (no product or strategy advice), and you will receive your answers from volunteers, all of whom are qualified financial advisers. There are also a lot of useful information on financial matters on MoneySmart and Money And Life
I hope this article has been of some use. Please let me know if you wish to collaborate. It’s what I do best.