There are a handful of touchy subjects in any relationship, but money disagreements are often the anchor that either fortifies or sinks your long-term potential. Understanding how to navigate these treacherous waters is key to the survival of your union, and this all begins by understanding how to approach this topic with care and understanding.
Start Small But Honest
It would be unwise to get too heavy on the topic of money at the beginning of any relationship. There are still too many other important factors you’re figuring out, and throwing this out on the table too soon could sabotage your chances. But at the same time, you don’t want to tip-toe around the topic when it arises. If you are on a budget, it is okay to let them know when a plan doesn’t work simply because you cannot afford it.
We try to show the best side of ourselves, but if you present a false state of financial bliss it will most certainly come back to haunt you if the relationship takes a turn for the long term. It is recommended that you learn about each other’s financial thoughts and goals in bits and pieces, rather than a one-night landslide, which is often how it goes when you try to hide it. And there are plenty of ways to communicate your thoughts to men beyond just words alone.
Allow Dreams to Drive the Plan
With the right approach, you can create a spark of enthusiasm to just about any topic, including budgets and savings. You may want to know how a future partner approaches saving for their future, but not everybody is grounded by such a practical nature. Let’s start with the basics, which includes the driving passion behind any financial plan – and that is a dream.
What does your partner want to achieve in the near and far future as far as a home, automobile, etc, goes? This will tell you which dreamers have their head in the clouds (big dreams without any practical planning), and which ones understand the importance of having a tactical plan. From here you can build from that excitement and get an idea about how they approach the necessity of using money to help drive their dreams.
Two Are Most Always Better Than One
Discussing each of your current financial statuses from the vantage point of wanting to help each other achieve your greatest potential takes some of the fear of being judged out of any serious discussion. There are a lot of benefits to committing to one partner, and from a financial standpoint, there is nothing more true than the benefits of combining your earnings and knowledge to open up more possibilities for paying off debt, starting a business with a loan, or negotiating the mortgage of a new home.
Bad credit happens, and if your partner (or you) is open to learning a better way to manage money, it does not have to be a dealbreaker.
Heed All Red Flags
Disagreements on money, or having different ideas on spending or saving is actually quite normal in every relationship. In fact, if things seem to be working out too perfectly, there is a chance that one of you is not being entirely honest. Every time that you experience an argument about money in a relationship, these should always begin as an “orange flag,” as Dave Ramsey would say. These are moments to take note of and then work to find a compromise to.
Compromise, and More Compromise
Finding a compromise is the key to learning how a partner views spending and saving and you should prompt both if you want to explore new avenues and enlighten each other on how to improve. But some partners will not like being called out for past mistakes or offered ideas to improve. And unfortunately, when views are strong and displays of stubbornness become the final word to most of these arguments, these (hopeful) orange flags can grow into (hopeless) red ones. This is when it’s time to consider that the two of you may be a bad match for the long-term.