We've been told for ages that money is one of the biggest things that couples argue about and something which tears so many apart. Yet how many of us are able to address the elephant in the room?
The sad thing is that it is a topic which many try to ignore in the hope it will sort itself out on its own. Or they leave it to their partner to fix. Yet if not spoken about, it will only get worse. I believe there are many reasons we bury our heads in the sand when it comes to finances.
1. Many of us bring a little (or alot) of baggage into a relationship with regards to money. I grew up with a stay-at-home mother and I tend to think before spending on unnecessary items. I guess I'm often remembering how my Mom (and Dad obviously) would put others needs before their own.
I've been in relationships where I was looked down on for working for someone else rather than myself and told I'd never get anywhere. I've worked in companies where I felt too guilty to broach the topic of remuneration and so nothing got said! Little suitcases of luggage which followed me everywhere.
So take your own issues and add a partner with concerns of his or her own before stirring in poor communication and you will get a recipe for disaster. Money baggage can come from unexpected sources and most of us don't want to dwell on it.
My suggestion is to be open at all times - it works for my hubby and I. We don't keep any details from each other and it is good to always know where the other person stands on every topic. From mundane grocery lists to where your dream travel destination will be for a milestone anniversary. Talk about it to your partner! In time they will help unpack those unnecessary suitcases full of baggage you have been lugging around.
2. It is more interesting to plan for fun future things.
When you get married it is so much more exciting to list what your plans are - whether it is to own a home or travel as much as you can. But in real life there are job losses, serious illnesses and other unpleasant but financially draining scenarios to consider.
Nobody wants to think about losing their income but or getting an illness that requires massive funding. Everyone should sit with their partner and discuss future goals AND worries. Not pleasant and yes quite negative, but discuss it now rather than later. Speak to a financial adviser. Yes talking about life's alternative possibilities is about as unsexy as a pair of crocs but so is retrenchment and financial uncertainty.
3. Keeping up with the Joneses is an addictive occupation for some.
I see it all the time. People who are literally living above their means to create an image they cannot afford to maintain. It is so sad and you can easily see the cracks in relationships when one or both partners do this.
DON'T do it. It will cost you so much in the long run. Resentment is something that grows at an alarming rate and cannot be paid off with monthly installments. Not to sound corny but true friends won't judge you on your car/home/holiday destinations. If they do, then they aren't real friends are they? I think respecting your partner and your resources and working together to make it work for you both is what it is all about.