Let’s face it, talking about money isn’t sexy. Actually it can totally kill the mood. Some may say that money stress can make or break a couple. I say only if you let it. Just like any sensitive subject in a relationship money issues can only come between you and your sweetheart if you allow them to be an issue. So my advice as a 30-something who’s been with her boyfriend for over 10 years and as a Certified Financial Planner is to look out for the warning signs.
Spotting poor money habits early on in a relationship can be your lifeline when it comes to finding an everlasting love. You don’t want to get too invested in a relationship then find out down the road your sweetheart has money troubles. You want to know right from the get-go what you’re in for when it comes to your couple’s money, but some would say it’s rude to ask.
Recognizing poor money habits early can help your sweetheart change their ways and save your relationship. So here’s what to be on the lookout for when it comes to love and money:
How is their mood on payday
Everyone likes to get paid, I personally have a little more pep in my step every second Thursday. However if someone is extremely happy come payday it may mean they’re broke. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t fun; it’s stressful and if you have an emergency you may find yourself in debt.
If your spouse is living paycheck to paycheck look over their expenses (or ask them to) and make cuts. If they set up automatic savings they will be forced to make some cuts because the money is transferred before they are able to spend. That’s how I stopped living paycheck to paycheck and starting saving every month.
How they react when joint expenses come up
Is your spouse always ready to pay bills when they are due or is their response “I’ll pay you at the end of the month”?
If you mange the monthly household expenses keep your spouse in the loop as to when they are due and how much they cost. This way they can plan for the expenses and be proactive in saving as oppose to always owing money.
What happens on your first vacation
If one of you has money and the other doesn’t it may be hard to plan couple’s activities such as vacations and weekend getaways. Don’t pay for your spouse to enjoy life’s nicer things because it will set a precedent and they may always expect you to do so going forward.
Instead talk about your plans and set a realistic date so your spouse has time to plan and save. An extra long weekend or a week relaxing on the beach can do wonders for a couple.
When money comes up, are they defensive
The worst thing you and your spouse can do with money is fight about it. Talk about it and change habits to work through the issue. Bringing up debt problems when your spouse is already stressing about payments and outstanding balances is the wrong time to have the talk.
Bring up the subject of money in a positive manner, such as “I really want to go on vacation with you or I would like to buy a house together in the next few years.” Don’t yell, argue and fight about money troubles because it will most likely only make things worse.
What’s your best money advice for couple’s?