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Shape Up Your Financial Relationship

Shape Up Your Financial Relationship

Making time to talk with your loved one about money could save heartache further down the line

Winter often brings about polar changes in the nation’s love life. Christmas to Valentine’s is full of proposals, while January blues lead to break-ups. Talking about money can help keep your relationship—and your finances—in good health for the rest of the year and beyond.

Whether you’re a new couple or have been together for years, it’s important to work at your money relationship. And like most things involving a loved one, communication is key. That said, money is likely to be one of the trickiest subjects for you to talk about, yet avoiding it can cause all sorts of financial problems and relationship stresses.

Don’t have a one-sided money relationship

It’s common for one person to look after bills or expenditure more than the other, but information and understanding by both partners is really important. Make sure you both have access to the shared bills and accounts so you know what’s coming in and going out. Many couples also value the privacy of their own account, so try to respect that— unless you think it could affect your wider family finances.

Make time to talk about money

This can be hard, so try breaking the task down and put a date in the diary to review one bill. You may even find you can save money on that one bill, which will help motivate you to do the next one. Avoid doing it when you’re tired, and definitely don’t bring it up when you’re angry. The more relaxed you are the better.

Find the middle ground

Compromise is important. You might be a spender while your partner is a saver, so try to be sympathetic to how they think about money. Write a list of things you’d both really like to buy, so you can work out how to save and budget for these items. Steering clear of the subject to avoid an argument might lead to big financial problems down the road. So work together to have a conversation without resorting to a fight.

Set some joint financial goals

If you both know what you’re planning for, how you’ll do it and when you need to do it by—whether that’s to clear a debt or save for a holiday—you’ve a better chance of getting there without causing stress.

If you still can’t talk about money without arguing…

Sometimes you need some outsider help. That could be someone to give independent advice, or perhaps you need a person to help mediate the conversation. If that’s too formal, other options could be asking family or friends who are good with money how they manage it.

 Read more articles by Money Advice Service here