Are money worries killing your relationship?

Money can be a divisive wedge in a relationship but is it possible to achieve fiscal success and relationship harmony?

There’s no shortage of evidence to show that money can be a leading cause of friction between couples.

Counselling group Relationships Australia says seven out of ten couples point to money as a source of tension. CoreData’s Financial Stress survey found couples experiencing financial stress are three times more likely to argue than those who have their money under control.

This all reinforces the need to maintain good money management. Australia has a high rate of separation and divorce, and along with emotional pain, the break-up of a long term relationship can leave both members of a couple financially worse off and struggling to rebuild their lives.

In fact, AMP/NATSEM’s report entitled Divorce: For Richer, For Poorer found divorce costs the nation around $14 billion in government assistance payments and court costs. Great for lawyers. Not so good for the people involved.

The thing is, when it comes to building wealth, it’s often the case that two are stronger than one. Following three strategies can help to maintain the health of your relationship – and your money.

Have open discussions about money
Even couples who have been married for years can find it hard to talk about money matters. And that’s often because we can hold different views about money, spending and saving.

However, simple discussions about money can help to break down barriers and strengthen bonds.

The key is to start out gently. Relaxed conversations about what you’d both like to do in retirement, or what you each hope to achieve over the next five, ten and twenty years, can be a friction-free introduction, especially if everyone avoids snipes like, “The way you spend, you’ve got no hope of achieving any goals.”

The main aim is to understand each other’s views about money and develop some shared plans for the future.

Find a balance
Successful relationships almost always involve an element of give and take. It’s the same when it comes to managing your combined finances. With some goals to work towards you have a launch pad to decide how to achieve your aspirations through budgeting, saving and investing. 

Remember that money is meant to be enjoyed, so be prepared to splurge (sensibly) every now and then on a night out or a holiday away. It can reinforce the fact that shared goals are worth working towards.

Ignore the Jones's
We used to worry about what the Jones's were doing. These days our spending is more likely to be fuelled by Insta-envy. Bottom line is, live your own life. Don’t let those enviable images you see on social media dictate how you should live. Your relationship and financial wellbeing are more important than extra ‘likes’.

Having a conversation about money can often be easier when a neutral third party is involved. Contact your FinChoice adviser and they can help you work out your joint goals and how you are tracking to achieving them.