Finance should be thoroughly and regularly discussed by couples. Financial goals can be discussed before marriage or in the first month/year of marriage to avoid any unplanned conflict. Having clear defined financial goals every month or quarter on how ‘our money’ will be spent will help you both have a better financial life. We all have personal differences when it comes to spending, saving and accounting for money but these differences can be discussed so they don’t pose problems. Couples need to understand their cash flow (i.e. the process of money coming in and going out).
In our marriage, we have a financial rule that if either of us spends over a certain amount on groceries or regular bills, we will discuss it before we make the purchase. This activity has prevented a lot of arguement which was experienced in the early years of our marriage. We don’t do this to justify why we have spent the money but it is more about being a team when it comes to our money. Making money decisions together is one of the healthiest habits you can have.
Transparency about money and all things is essential to the growth of a marriage. Don’t make money decisions without your spouse even when it will better your financial situation. Let your partner know when you want to get that new dress or before you make a vacation booking – involve each other in your daily/weekly finance plans. Create a plan that cuts extras and develop a financial projection that will benefit the marriage not individual interests.
On the other hand, financial decisions in relationships seem a difficult concept for many people to understand or embrace when it has to do with doing it together. It is important to define your relationship together before you go far. For instance in any relationship, it is pertinent to decide: who buys what, who keeps what, need for joint account or individual account etc.
There are lots of benefits associated with making financial decisions together other than do so independently; when this is done together, people tend to cover up for themselves like having each other’s back and even in the sight of third parties it is important to know that such a spirit will not expose either party to the world.
Taking financial decisions together amongst other things tend to help by:
1. Solidifying a Relationship
A relationship where financial decisions are taken together seem to build trust amongst parties. They trust each other not to take finance decisions or spend money without the other’s knowledge.
2. Have each other’s Back
When it becomes a habit to take financial decisions together, even when one party lacks money, the other will normally cover up for the one lacking because it has become a habit in the relationship.
3. Reduction in Frivolous Expenses
As against individual financial decisions, when decisions are made together, it tends to reduce obnoxious and frivolous spending tremendously.
4. Encourages Saving
Taking financial decisions together in a relationship encourages savings in the long run; because while taking decisions as to what to buy, decisions can also be taken of what to save and after sometimes, when it becomes a habit, they stick to same.
5. Encourages the “we” Spirit
Taking financial decisions together encourages parties to always consult one another on even all issues apart from finance, because the financial aspect would have influenced all other aspects of their lives. Even when there are mistakes, there will always be a ‘we’ spirit and not an ‘I’ spirit that eliminates the situation of blaming the other party, over wrong decisions taken because both will take the blame, while they both cheer themselves for the right one.
Understanding your partner is a panacea for decision making in a relationship; finance is one of such areas where understanding is key.