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During the month of February, a lot of new couples will look to take the next step in their relationship; talking about finances.
Money is cited as one of the main reasons that couples part ways, so it’s important to have an open dialogue about your finances.
While it’s viewed by many as one of the more difficult conversions to have – a Wells Fargo survey showed people feel that discussing politics or religion is easier than talking about personal finance – it’s one that’s vital to a successful relationship.
Oftentimes, two people in a relationship have different views on money and how to handle it because of how they’ve grown up. It’s important to understand each person’s point of view and find a middle ground
One of the best ways to get more comfortable? Start early. Conversations about your bank, goals you’re saving for, and the kinds of things you like to spend money on, are all good ways to just get the ball rolling.
If you’re getting serious in the relationship, have a conversation about who pays for what, especially if you’re looking to move in with each other. Don’t wait until the bill comes to talk about it; have the conversation early. No matter if it’s simple as who is picking up the tab at dinner or as complex as how bills will get split at your shared apartment.
It’s also important to create common goals. Start with concrete, long-term goals – like a house, kids, or a dream vacation. Making sure you’re on the same page when it comes to these kinds of things and how to financially achieve them can help you stay on budget and strengthen your relationship.
Another thing that has been found to strengthen a relationship; pooling your financial accounts. A study by an associate professor of marketing and management communication at Cornell found that couples with pooled financial accounts tended to exhibit a better connection and their interactions were more positive, stable and safe. This led to using shared language on publicly available online financial forums to describe their relationships, with pronouns such as “we,” “us” and “our” and fewer pronouns such as “I.” They also used more affiliation words such as “agree,” “connect,” “friend,” “kindness,” “listen,” and “peace.”
When you reach the stage of talking about marriage, it’s also time to get serious about finances. That means getting “financially naked.” It’s important not to enter into something as serious as marriage without letting your partner know what kind of financial situation they are entering into. Even if it’s hard, it’s important to discuss everything from credit card debt to student loans, to spending habits.
One-third of all Americans admit they financially cheat on their partner, according to an online survey conducted by CreditCards.Com. Financial infidelity can be just as destructive to a relationship as sexual infidelity. Be open about everything, and don’t hide finances, even for a “good reason.” That big cost surprise may sound great until it prevents you from reaching a goal you’re both aiming for.
The bottom line is, communication is key in any successful relationship, including when it comes to your finances. So if the relationship is worth taking a chance on, then it’s worth having the conversation.
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