Before entering into marriage or a partnership, most people assume that infidelity, lack of commitment or even unreasonable behaviour will be the relationship killer. When two people merge their lives, a generous helping of patience and compromise is usually required for emotional needs, personal space and quality time together.
Unsurprisingly, nowadays one of the main reasons cited for the breakdown in relationships is around money. In fact, letting financial problems fester can cause them to ignite into enormous arguments which may derail your relationship or worse still, lead to separation.
So many bills
The reason that a lot of people fight about money is that it is highly measurable. With the price of living spiralling upwards, it feels like we are under more pressure than ever to cover bills, manage childcare costs, pay the rent or mortgage, and perhaps even have enough left over for a holiday. This can of course lead many households into a mountain of debt.
Ideally it makes sense to have frank conversations about long term financial goals and attitudes towards saving when you first embark on a relationship. If you cannot agree from the outset on many of the fundamentals, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. It is a lot more difficult to have awkward conversations after the starry-eyed honeymoon period is over.
Some of the signs
Some of the signs that you may be suffering from financial stress include not opening bills when they arrive, arguing with loved ones over money, living in fear of eviction and having difficulties sleeping. But, rather than just walking away, there are a number of ways to commence debt management and start getting your financial situation back on track.
To regain control of your finances as a couple, it is important to remember that relationships are defined by both parties, therefore both sides need to be comfortable with any guidelines around harnessing spending and debt consolidation. No matter where you live in Australia, there are lots of options for help with debt consolidation. There are professional debt negotiators who can negotiate a better outcome for you both. Speak with us today and we’ll go through a free consultation with you to determine your best option.
Trust is everything
An open book policy on spending is also very important to maintain trust. Having financial freedom is crucial nowadays, particularly for women, and having your own money does help you feel that you haven’t lost your identity in order to be part of a relationship. This financial freedom must be balanced with accountability, which means you should not be hiding spending habits from your other half.
If you do find yourself constantly exclaiming: “What, this old thing?” perhaps it is time to start seeking guidance. Although a new pair of shoes or another gadget can do wonders for our self-esteem in the short term, we also need to understand that emotional problems cannot be solved by simply spending money that we do not have. Read our article on how to update your wardrobe without breaking or touching the bank account.
So what are some of the practical things you can do about keeping your relationship strong during times of financial stress? The key to getting through those “for richer, for poorer” moments is certainly around clear communication. Remember you are a partnership and you make decisions together, therefore you can change spending habits together. Set realistic financial goals and avoid making impulse purchases. There are many tools available online to get you started, such as debt consolidation calculators.
Seek professional debt advice
It is also important to seek professional help. If you feel that you are working long hours to fund an extravagant partner’s lifestyle, then there are counselling services out there to help you address getting a balance back in the relationship. Likewise, the subject of money should never be used as a weapon against your partner.
Education is also very important. Have you read the small print around the interest rates of those credit cards? Do you have a realistic idea how much you are paying in interest every month? How often are you paying interest, after simply forgetting to log on and pay bills? Many money issues stem from a lack of knowledge.
Credit cards and cutting back
When it comes to credit card debt, it’s a good idea to sit down with your partner and have a look at your outgoings, then look at how much you are paying off every month. If you are covering just the minimum, it may take decades to clear the debt. Look at ways you can cut costs to pay off more, as even an extra $50 per month will make an enormous difference. If you have more than one card, look at paying the one with the highest interest rate first. If it still looks bleak, then get in contact with us to discuss your options at reducing your credit card debt.
Without wanting to hear the “I told you so” lecture, look to your parents’ generation about ways they used to invest time into their relationships, without putting a strain on their savings. For example, take fitness; ask yourself, do I honestly need that gym membership, or could I find something outdoors that will not cost me anything? Living in Australia, we have such amazing natural spaces on our doorstep, which do not cost a cent to use. Often a few simple changes can start to add up. Exercise is also one of many nice things to do together, clear your head and talk to one another so it will do wonders for your relationship.
All for one for your relationship and your money
It is also important to keep reminding yourself, and each other, that you are in it together as one financial team. Whether you combine your finances or keep separate bank accounts, the important thing is to take responsibility for your actions, to find sensible debt solutions as opposed to judgement.
If you’re looking for assistance to improve your financial situation, we’re here to help! We have professionals who can offer debt management advice and assist you with consolidating your debts. Contact us now on 1300 368 322 to see how we can help you create a brighter financial future.