Common Money Mistakes Couples Should Avoid
How many of us have seen couples brought together by love only to be torn apart by money? Clearly, such characters don’t only live in movies.
While some couples may have promised to love and stand by each other for richer or for poorer, it’s a reality that many marriages are strained and completely ruined due to financial problems. As they say, it’s easy to take away the bliss from any honeymoon once you add financial stress to the equation.
But just like any fairy tale villain, there’s a way to stop money matters from swallowing and spitting your marriage. Key to this, of course, is knowledge. Here are five common money mistakes you should watch out for and avoid if you seek to get past ‘just getting by’ with your partner.
Keeping up with the Joneses
“Oh, John and Jane brought a new car? Let’s check out the car showroom next week, too!” “They went on a week-long European vacation? Why don’t we extend ours for a month?”
Competing with friends or family on who could afford what better, even though you’re financially incapable, is not only expensive but a recipe for disaster. It shows a lack of maturity and responsibility, and the need to be above anyone even if your bank account doesn’t permit it. Keeping up with the Joneses may also be a grown-up version of wanting to be a part of the cool crowd. And everyone in high school knows what happens if you try too hard to get in – you lose touch of who you really are and drive away the people and things that truly matter.
To avoid this, make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your financial goals. Discuss what you want to achieve, track your spending, and point out any bad spending habits to prevent further financial troubles.
Being dishonest about one’s finances
Infidelity in a marriage doesn’t only refer to engaging in extra-marital affairs. It could also include being dishonest with one’s finances. Financial infidelity usually involves hiding purchases from your spouse, secretly taking out unsecured personal loans or getting a credit card, lending and borrowing money from family and more. These acts erode one of the important foundations of a relationship: trust. And you don’t need back-up studies to prove that they are harmful to any relationship.
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding something from you, be sure to confront him or her about your worries. Or if you’re the one on the other side of the situation, consider coming clean and lay out your troubles on the table. It might be hard at first but remember that no financial trouble will get solved if you don’t deal with it together.
Buying your spouse expensive jewellery, a luxury car or a lavish vacation may seem like a convenient solution to compensate for your shortcomings. But as The Beatles would tell you, you can’t buy love! Material things never improve a marriage, they only stress out your bank account. So, instead of maxing out your credit card for a diamond ring slash peace offering for your wife, consider taking her out to dinner. Sing to her. Slow dance with her. Enjoy the little things. They’re a lot less expensive but a lot more meaningful.
Living for the moment
Do you spend your entire salary in a month, or do you reserve some funds for college or retirement? While taking pleasure in the present is important for a relationship, not thinking about the future of your marriage and family can also be dangerous. You might end up incurring more debt just to send your children to college or, worse, forgo travel and retirement plans to continue working in your golden years to support yourself.
If you want to enjoy a more comfortable future, work on a specific savings strategy with your spouse. You can also consult a financial planner to help you make your goals more achievable.
Keeping mum about one’s finances
Arguing about money is just as detrimental as not discussing it. Communication is and always will be the best way to steer your finances to the right direction. This means that everything – from agreeing on a budget, tackling payday loans gone bad or applying for an fast cash loan to meet emergencies, to finding additional sources of income – warrants a discussion. Schedule a meeting for money matters and commit to it. It may not be the most enjoyable and romantic rendezvous but it, surely, is worth the outcome.
Even if you’ve made any of these mistakes, it’s never too late to undo them. With effort and team work, saving and strengthening your marriage and bank account should be possible.