Every year you resolve NOT to do it. You promise yourself you do not want to always be fighting with your partner about the credit card bills. In fact, you promised your self last year that 2010 would be the year you finally stop fighting about money! And yet here you are, once again, fighting, bickering, yelling at each other, or giving each other the silent treatment about all the money that was spent during the holidays. Well what’s done is done! But to avoid this nasty scene for the rest of the New Year – and the rest of your relationship – read below and I will reveal to you 3 simple secrets to finally stop fighting about money in the New Year!
- Communicate your financial goals. Many couples “assume” they and their partner are on the same financial page with regard to their financial goals as a couple. This can be both a financial and emotional mistake. The best way to avoid fighting about money in your relationship is to very clearly and very specifically communicate your financial goals for the year. And write these goals done. Make a list of what you would like your money to be spent on – individually and as a couple – and then discuss how much money you want to spend on those items. This is not the same as discussing how much money you have to spend on those items. What you want to spend and what you have to spend can be two totally different numbers. Be certain to make that distinction – which leads me to secre t#2.
- Create a Budget. Once you have successfully communicated your financial goals – common sense suggests you create a budget together to successfully reach these goals. But do not just make a budget as a couple – you must also create a budget separate from your “relationship budget” so you account for your individual spending. This way –all the money you budget for is not just tied to your financial goals as couple, but also reflects your financial goal individually. Yes we need to cooperate as a couple when it comes to spending money, but we do not want to feel as if we are a financial slave to our relationship budget. In addition, be certain you have some wiggle room for discretionary spending – which is the preamble for secret #3.
- Re-Visit your Budget throughout the year. It would be terrific if we could set a budget and stick to it; however, even though a healthy budget will have provisions for emergencies, we should re-visit our budget every few months throughout the year to be certain both you and your partner are staying “on” budget. Also, maybe a great investment opportunity comes along that you could not possibly anticipate and therefore, did not budget for. Or maybe an illness or sudden job loss might have occurred. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it – so re-visit your budget with your partner throughout the year so you can tweak your financial goals as is necessary.
Communicating your financial goals, creating a budget and re-visiting that budget periodically are 3 simple steps you can take to stop always fighting about money in the New Year!
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Dr. Patty Ann