By Cortney Meng
Anybody in a relationship knows that love and money will invariably intersect. Relationships are partnerships, and managing finances simply comes with the territory. But the results of a recent survey conducted by SunTrust Bank revealed that finances are the primary culprit for many couples’ relationship stress. According to the survey, 35 percent of respondents cited financial management as the biggest cause of friction with their partner—ten percent higher than second place finisher, annoying habits.
The issue is much bigger than figuring out whether or not to split a restaurant bill. Financial management underlies most of the big decisions that couples will make together, from marriage, having children, purchasing a home, to taking a vacation or planning for retirement. Without developing a stress-free financial planning strategy, couples may end up overwhelmed, stressed out and never attain the goals they set for themselves.
In order to make sure that you and your partner don’t let finances become a bone of contention in your relationship, consider adopting some of these practices for managing your money together.
Set your budget around shared financial goals. If only one partner in a relationship is concerned about reaching a financial benchmark, your finances are likely to become a stressor. To make sure you and your partner are saving in synch, set a series of short, medium and long-term goals which you both aspire to achieve. That way, you’ll be able to stay on track and budget accordingly to reach the carrot dangling in front of you.
Leave room in your budget for separate spending too. Nearly half of respondents to SunTrust’s survey reported that they had different spending habits than their partners. Disproportionate spending is a breeding ground for resentment, so be sure when you’re planning your monthly budget to allocate an equal amount for each partner to use as they see fit, no questions asked. That way, an individual inclined to save more will have that chance, while someone inclined to spend more won’t need to ask permission. And because there’s a set cap on personal spending, the couples’ finances won’t get out of control.
Seek the services of a financial planner. Managing finances within the context of a relationship can be stressful because it is difficult to take the emotions out of a purely mathematical process. In such cases, consider consulting with a financial planner. You’ll receive an objective third-party opinion from an individual that can give you a clear path to meet your goals, as well as investing strategies that will be best suited for your lifestyle needs and wants.
Stop by any office of The Milford Bank to learn about the products you need to achieve your goals. You can also check out more information on our Learning Center here.