looking to Destroy Your Relationship Over Money – Here’s How (part 1)
Money is neutral. It is neither good or bad. How we handle our money with our spouse, however, can be good and bring us closer together, or it can be not good and drive us apart. Data released by financial firm TD Ameritrade found that 41% of divorced Gen Xers and 29% of Boomers say they ended their marriage due to disagreements about money. So, if you want to destroy your relationship over money, the following are some of the ways to do it.
- Set yourself up for disaster – go into debt!
Going into a marriage with a big suitcase of debt OR maintaining a high level of debt, doesn’t give the marriage a chance from the beginning. Stay out of debt except for the big necessary purchases, such as homes and cars. If you’re in debt, take the steps and make the sacrifices to get out of debt. You won’t believe how much pressure will be relieved when you are debt-free!
- Hide your financial history from your mate.
Even if it is an embarrassing topic based on bad decisions or poor choices, everything must be on the table! Eventually, it will all come out anyway and it could shake the foundation of your relationship so hard that it won’t withstand it.
- Ignore how your partner thinks and feels about money.
We all have different views and opinions on everything, especially money, based on our past experiences. It is essential to understand how your mate views money and what they learned as they grew up. Were their parents frugal or big spenders? Did they live on a budget? What does money mean to your partner- security, significance, the ability to accomplish dreams, or the ability to be generous? What is your partner’s biggest fear related to money? Find out. Talk about it. If you don’t understand your partner’s mindset, it will result in misunderstandings, arguments, and hurt feelings.
- Have separate financial goals and dreams.
Life is unpredictable and financial expectations, wants, and needs are likely to change. The problem begins when couples forget to check in with each other to make sure they are in sync with one another and are pulling in the same direction. It is good to sit down at least once a year to discuss your financial needs and goals. Having money goals aligned is especially crucial for couples with only one income-generating spouse. Often the non-earning spouse feels guilty about not contributing financially, or the financially providing spouse can feel resentful that the money earned is not being appreciated and spent prudently. Making sure you both have the same goals in mind is essential.
- Don’t have a budget.
Every household should have a budget, but in reality, only about 1/3 of households operate by a budget. You can help prevent financial arguments by keeping each other informed about where your money is and how it’s being spent. There are no excuses for not having a budget. Technology has made budgeting more accessible, and there are free budgeting apps that are available online for you to download.
- Keep secrets from your spouse.
Keeping money secrets from your spouse will put you on the fast track to mayhem. Concealing financial accounts or spending significant amounts without telling your partner is a recipe for disaster. While no one should be micro-managed or expected to disclose every purchase, hiding accounts, or being dishonest about big purchases can be toxic to the relationship. These hidden behaviors could surface as guilt and anxiety by the person keeping the secrets. Questions of trust could come into play when the partner who was deceived inevitably finds out. Now the trust barrier has been eroded, and they may wonder, “what else do I not know about?”