Let’s Talk Money: Discussing Finances with your Partner is the Key to Happiness
Rarely do we bother discussing finances in the whirl of moving in together or getting married to someone. However, we see couples all over the world and the news going to extreme lengths to manage money over a split. Money is also considered the main reason for most fights between life partners and although it might seem stupid and childish to have each person manage his own portion, it could easily make all the disputes and nonsense disappear. There are various reasons for which people avoid the subject of money and prefer to go with the flow, but none of them justify all the problems and arguments that follow.
Leave pride aside and open up on the subject
The best way to avoid future disputes regarding finances is to be truthful up start. Sit down with your partner and discuss both your money related situations. For some, it might seem a breach of intimacy to reveal how much they earn, how much they spend, what their spending habits are and whether they have debts that still need to be paid. But, if you can be intimate in the most basic of ways with another person, why avoid getting intimate on the subject of money? Doing so would eliminate various risks and unwanted suppositions that could later create a precipice between you and your future spouse. It’s easier to debate how to spend your money and what to focus on when you already know what to expect. It can also give you valuable insight on who the person you are planning to marry really is. You might discover that you are incompatible and that his or her habits and expectations are farfetched as far as you’re concerned. So why not avoid a disaster when all it takes is being open on this matter?
As you do when arranging a vacation or a dinner party, plan it out. Do not leave things to chance and expect the other person to do right by you simply because you find that to be the fair approach. Grab a pen and paper and ask your partner how he or she thinks you should go about spending your money. Do you want to work as a team or each on their own? Are there things that you feel should be split between the two of or dealt with independently? And if so, how? What about the costs that you do want to split between the two of you? It’s more practical to write down everything and decide on who pays for what and which amount is dealt with in a certain way. Why spend time and energy on fighting over who does this or that and finding fault with one’s willingness to take responsibility when you can straighten every detail from the very start?
Hire a planner. More and more people appeal to third parties when it comes to objectively discussing how to share the burden of spending money equally. Although many of us find it a bit odd and unnecessary, the advantage lies in having someone objectively guiding you along the way. It’s quite easy to point fingers and get upset in the middle of a conversation about money. You tend to believe that you are doing your part without fault and that the other party should take on more responsibility. However, having a fee-for-service planner guiding you through the decision process will reduce these risks and you will be able to receive financial advice and directions in an objective manner. Whether you accept and take this advice into consideration is however your decision to make.
Sign a prenup and be done with it
Once considered a cynical and unromantic approach, prenuptial contracts have gradually become a plausible option for many couples that intend to marry. You might not want your marriage plans to be dimmed by debates on how to best spend your money in the future, but paying the mortgage or having to divide assets when worse comes to worst is a dilemma you might not escape unscathed. Couples at their second or third marriage are especially fearful of these unwanted consequences and could strongly benefit from a prenup.
Statistics point out that this issue is a very common and grave one. And although many agree with the concept, very few take action in this direction. Exceptions aside, you should strive for a peaceful and happy marriage. In order to achieve that, there are some things that might seem burdensome and less romantic, but they should be dealt with beforehand. Being mature and responsible about possible dilemmas is not a sign of emotional detachment or distrust. On the contrary, it’s a clear display of how much you care and of active involvement.
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