Here’s another smart post from our friends at Savvy Sugar. Check it out:
We talk about love and money quite a bit here at Savvy Sugar. In a new relationship, resolving money issues means adjusting to each other’s spending and saving styles, and coming up with a system you can both live with. But as relationships grow and change, financial situations do too, and many couples find themselves having to adjust their approach to money after years of marriage.
Here’s a list of five issues that can cause financial bickering even in established relationships. To see them, along with my advice for how to address them, click away.
In most relationships, one person takes on most of the financial responsibility. But that means they’re also likely to shoulder the blame if a money decision goes bad, which can lead to some serious tension.
Savvy’s advice: Even if one of you assumes responsibility for tracking your finances or paying the bills, make sure you’re both in the loop. If necessary, schedule monthly money check-ins (over dinner and a glass of wine, perhaps?) with your significant other to make sure you’re on the same page.
In other words, downsizing. One of you lost your job or took a pay cut, or is staying home to take care of a new baby. Even if you never thought scaling back your standard of living would affect your relationship, Lieber says that many relationships suffer because of it.
Savvy’s advice: You obviously can’t predict when something like a layoff or a pay cut might happen, but you can make sure you’re prepared if it does. Take a look at my tips for determining if you can live on one income, and see how you fare.
Whether you have them or not, you know that raising a child is expensive. From housing and food costs to building a college fund, children come along with an ever-expanding list of expenditures that can easily strain a relationship.
Savvy’s advice: Plan, plan, plan. To avoid child-induced stress in the early years, make sure you’re established financially before having a baby, and discuss the sacrifices you’re both prepared to make once you have an extra mouth to feed. Then be sure to revisit that conversation from time to time, especially as your kids approach college age.
For most of us, the issue of supporting our parents in their old age is still at least a few years away. But when the time comes, supporting an aging or sick parent can put plenty of strain on both your finances and your relationship.
Savvy’s advice: Even if you don’t foresee having to deal with this issue for years, start talking about it now with both your significant other and your parents. Discussing options and expectations before you’re actually in the thick of the situation can save everyone stress and money.
One of the biggest financial stressors a couple encounters, says Lieber, is the vague, low-grade anxiety that gets worse as you take on more and more responsibility.
Savvy’s advice: Planning is important here, too, but so is being flexible. As your circumstances change, your financial practices may need to as well. If you and your partner establish that you’re both open to adjusting your goals or trading off responsibility for your finances, some of that anxiety can be defused.
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