Creating Common Ground and Avoiding Financial Stress in your Marriage

Peter Hafner |

We’ve all heard it a million times when it comes to happy relationships, “Communication is key.” Yet, with something that plays such a pivotal role in our lives, finance is often ignored until it’s too late. Discussing money can make a lot of people uncomfortable but you should never shy away from talking about it with your partner, identifying your own financial goals, and reaching a common ground that meets both of your needs. Preparing and discussing your financial goals now will not only save you future stress but like talking about everything reaching common ground with your partner will actually make your relationship a lot stronger. But just how exactly do you create common ground with your partner and what are some tips to get the ball rolling?


  1. Communication is Key


Just starting the conversation with your partner is an important first step. Not all but a lot of relationships hinge on one person being the spender and the other being the saver. You may want to start building an emergency fund or max out your 401K after witnessing the chaos of last year’s economy while your partner may have picked up or revived an old hobby or wants to take an exotic vacation after being stuck at home. You don’t have to rely on the miser or spendthrift dichotomy for your finances. Clearly identifying and intelligently going after your goals can make you both happy. You can successfully save for a good retirement and plan that wonderful vacation if you can both reach common ground and agree to a budget that will best meet both of your needs.


  1. Be Willing to Compromise


As stated above you don’t have to settle toward one extreme or the other. Just as important as clear communication is to a relationship so too is the willingness to compromise. Listening to what your husband or wife has to say is just as important. Maybe you’ve already maxed out your 401K or you have a lot of emergency spending saved and you could really use a nice vacation. Maybe you’ve suffered a job loss and had to break into your emergency savings already to get by so it’s important to build those backup. Be willing to listen to your partner and aim on the side of caution. Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy a little more peace of mind if the road ahead gets a bit rocky. When common ground can’t be reached or you have small separate financial goals from your partner you may want to consider having separate accounts. Joint bank accounts are great for common spending and common goals but if your partner has a side hobby or saving for something you have no interest in it may be a good idea to have separate accounts. Just make sure you talk about this with your partner and you keep your financial goals out in the open.


  1. Check-In


Who pays the bills in your relationship? What are you wanting to save for? What’s going on in your job right now? Although many bills are set to be on autopay these days hitting a bump in the road with one of your incomes may put these bills in jeopardy. If your partner is the one who normally covers the monthly bills it’s a great idea to check-in once and a while just to make sure there’s enough to cover the basic necessities. You should also check in with your partner about major financial decisions and discuss them openly. With the growing price of college tuition, it can be tempting to set money aside for your children but if it comes at the cost of saving for retirement you may want to reconsider. As pensions are being gutted and social security is predicted to run dry these two factors will not be enough for future workers to retire comfortably. If you don’t save and plan for your own retirement who will? Like many financial decisions make sure your needs are covered first before focusing on other areas.


Money can lead to the downfall of many relationships but it doesn’t have to if you’re wise about it. Just like investing the best time to talk about money with your partner was yesterday but the second-best time is today. Just remember to communicate, compromise, and check-in. Clearly state your financial goals, be willing to hear your partner out and compromise, and regularly check-in with your spouse to make sure everything is running on track. Your own needs or the needs of your partner don’t have to be cast aside or thrown away for the miserly nature of one or the spend thrifting of another.


*This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2021 Advisor Websites.