(This article is sponsored by Coast Capital Savings.)
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes—inevitably—arguments about money. Even if you think you’ve hit the jackpot—metaphorically speaking—with your significant other, the chances are, you are not the exception to the rule. Yes, they make you laugh, they accept your quirks, and they are good looking, but before you walk up the aisle you should also be considering whether or not you are financially compatible.
While you might feel inclined to focus on the fact that you’re head over heels in love and so nothing else matters, the truth is that conflicts over finances continue to be one of the top causes of divorce in Canada.
And admittedly, money has a real knack for taking the romance out of a situation. After all, nobody wooed anyone into wedlock by talking about budgets, and insurance, and retirement plans. But you know what else isn’t sexy? Fighting, splitting up, and divorce. Because there is nothing that gets in the way of a perfectly harmonious relationship like disagreements over dough. In fact, according to a study reported in the Financial Post, couples who fight about money once a week are 30 percent more likely to end up divorced than those who disagree over money only a few times a month.
So if you can remove the rosy-tinted spectacles for a moment and accept that your finances should be treated like every aspect of your love life. With a little work, you’ll have a far better chance of being together forever and ever. Below, we list seven of the best ways to stop money coming between you and your partner.
Don’t say “I do” to debt
According to the Better Business Bureau the average cost of a wedding in British Columbia is more than $30,000. And that’s huge. Especially when you consider that you could be using that money elsewhere to fund a significant future investment. With couples’ nuptials becoming more and more extravagant, many are setting off into married life with unmanageable debts. The key is setting a budget from the start that you can afford—and then sticking to it. It can be easy to get caught up in the planning frenzy, but it’s important to keep your big day in perspective. Yes, your guests will enjoy an open bar complete with Champagne, but when you and your newly betrothed are fighting over how to pay off your huge drinks bill, that really won’t matter.
Talking about finances can be charged, but communicating openly with your partner on your monetary situation will set you in good stead for the rest of your lives together. And while there might be areas of your past that you choose to keep to yourself, you should try to be as honest as possible when it comes to discussing money. Are you bringing debt into the relationship? What are your spending habits? Are there parts of managing your finances that you find more difficult? If you crave the newest electronic gadget or you have to indulge in retail therapy to recover from the work day, communicate that to your spouse before you get married.
Sharing is caring?
There are some things in a partnership that are totally worth sharing—your values, your home, the bottle of wine after a hard week at work. But having a joint bank account isn’t always the best thing. Being able to treat yourself and manage your own spending as individuals can be a part of any healthy relationship. A good solution can be having separate accounts in addition to a joint one, giving you both the opportunity to divide shared expenditures, while also enjoying financial independence. Win, win.
There’s safety in numbers
Having financial independence does not mean that you are no longer accountable for the money that you spend on your own. In fact, having a budget is vital regardless of your marital status. But once you’re coupled up, it’s important to revisit your spending allocation. Setting the parameters in a way that you both think is fair will mean neither of you is left feeling short-changed. If you have different salaries, then consider apportioning a percentage of your earnings each month into a joint account for shared pursuits like vacations and investments.
As any expert will tell you, it’s important to set financial goals. These milestones can really help keep you motivated. Once you’re married or in a long-term relationship, you should agree on what you would like to accomplish together in the future. Are you hoping to have children one day? Would you like travel? Or own a home? Look at the steps required to allow you to achieve your dreams from a financial perspective.
Ask for help
Seeking advice from someone out with your relationship can sometimes be all you need to get your finances on track. Coast Capital Savings has a team of more than 80 accredited advisors who can help you set your goals and make sure your money is working as hard as possible.
Set off on married life with some extra money in your pocket by signing up now to become a member of Coast Capital Savings. In addition to some really great perks, new members could receive a $200 bonus! Follow this series for more tips and advice on how to make banking simple and convenient, while achieving your financial goals.More