4 Bad Money Habits That Can Hurt Your Relationship

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Money issues can cause arguments, stress and even divorce if they’re not addressed. In order to maintain a healthy relationship you should consider having mutual financial disclosure. Here is a list of some bad habits that can potentially hurt your relationship and tips for how to avoid them.

1. Avoiding Financial Conversations

The most important part of a relationship is honesty and trust. If you are getting serious with your partner, then you should consider sitting down and having a conversation about money before taking the next step. Speaking about your finances with your partner can be personal, however, if you plan to move in together and build a future, then you want to make sure you are on the same financial page. Ask yourself, Will you share a joint account? Joint credit cards? Who will be in charge of paying the bills? All of these questions should be addressed before taking the next step with your partner to avoid issues down the road.

2. Keeping Money Secrets

It is okay to keep some things personal from your partner, however, you might want to reconsider hiding financial secrets. If you or your partner has a large amount of debt, then it’s important that you let the other party know. (Not sure where your finances stand? You can view two of your free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.) Depending on how serious your relationship is, you should be aware or have an idea of how much your partner is making and how much they are spending on expenses. If you are hiding some big financial secret from your partner, then don’t you think they may be wondering what else you are hiding? Avoid this and consider establishing some ground rules with your partner before getting serious; make sure you can trust them.

3. Not Using a Compatible Budget (for Two)

The first step to staying organized financially is establishing a budget. Now, you may be following a budget already, but have you redesigned your budget to include two people? Budgeting for one is not the same as budgeting for two. You may have more money and more expenses. You might even be sharing a credit card. Consider speaking with your partner about their budgeting techniques and combining a new budget for the both of you. If you notice that you are getting tight on money at the end of every month, then consider trimming some of the expenses on your budget. It might be difficult at first, but focus on staying positive and making compromises. If you are experiencing trouble with budgeting, then consider downloading an app to help.

4. Not Having Savings

Sit down with your partner and discuss your short- and long-term goals. Do you plan to take a vacation together in the future? Are you planning on paying off all of your student loans in the next five years? Consider coming up with a list of financial goals you both plan to achieve, pick one and start saving! Work as a team to reach your goal. It can be very rewarding once you reach your number and go on that tropical vacation you both always wanted.

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5 Ways to Be More Honest With Your Spouse About Money

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The more serious your relationship, the more serious your financial discussions may become. That’s why it’s important to have mutual financial disclosure with your partner before things move too fast. You don’t want to suffer financial infidelity.

The following strategies have not only helped me overcome my financial struggles with my previous partner but helped my clients overcome theirs. Here are some guidelines.

1. Accept Change

Change can be difficult for some. However, in a relationship, it is important to accept change in all aspects, especially when it comes to your finances. You might have to change your ways if you are used to budgeting a certain way or only going grocery shopping once a month. Now that you’re serious with your partner, you may be splitting up your finances and agreeing on what to buy and what not to buy. Focus on compromising and moving forward, rather than getting stuck arguing over money.

2. Honesty & Trust

When it comes to a relationship, you want to be able to trust your partner. Honesty should be a big part of your relationship when joining accounts with your partner or relying on them to pay specific bills on time. You don’t want to fall into debt if your partner decides to go off spending enormous amounts of money without your knowing about it. Try to always be on the same page, as this will help you avoid becoming a victim of financial infidelity.

3. Establish & Combine Goals

The goals you set for yourself (short and long term) should also fall in the same line as your finances. You may want to share your goals with your partner and even create goals together. It can be fun setting goals and then working them into your budget with your partner. Once you have enough money, taking, say, a tropical vacation together can be very rewarding.

4. Create a Joint Spending Plan

As you plan your future together, you may want to create a joint spending plan. Major purchases may be “joint purchases,” such as a house, car or furniture. If you decide to open any joint credit card accounts or take on your partner’s existing debt, both of you will be on the hook for any expenses. Be aware of the responsibilities you are taking on as a “joint owner” and decide whether it is one you can financially afford.

5. Devise a Compatible Budget

You may want to create a budget together that lists your essentials and nonessentials, as well as your outside expenses. This includes: rent, utilities, food, entertainment expenses, phone, date night, babysitting, etc. As a couple, you should try to have a talk on what items are truly important, as well as items you can live without. You will be surprised at how much money you can save each month by following a budget. If you trim the “fat” on some of your expenses or eliminate them, then you are in the road to saving financially as a couple.

[Editor’s Note: Drafting a budget is a savvy way to take charge of your finances and ensure that you meet your goals. You can see how your spending behaviors are affecting your credit by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.]

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