Money is the number 1 thing couples argue about.
A poll of over 2,000 British adults by legal firm Slater and Gordon found that money worries top the list of reasons why married couples split up, with one in five saying it was the biggest cause of marital strife.
Given that our culture can seem entirely focused on money, it can feel strange how hard it is to have a productive conversation about it. That can be especially true for romantic partners – which isn’t great because they’re the people that need to talk about money with the most.
I was reminded of that this week when I heard that good friends of ours had entered a rabbit hole of conflict around their finances. In her mid-40’s and having worked in banking all her life, Christina wondered if their finances would allow her to change career and follow her passion for teaching children.
‘We don’t have enough – our savings and investments are being made for our retirement’
Like many relationships, one partner had assumed responsibility for managing the family finances – from budgeting to saving to investing – with a notional objective of retiring at an undetermined date in the future – but life, as we all know, doesn’t move in linear fashion – and, as we get older, our desire to connect wealth to a purpose becomes more prescient.
There are three areas which, when addressed successfully, reduce the chance of financial conflict.
If I had a pound for every time someone told me “My partner handles the money because they’re better at finances” I would be a very rich man. This simply doesn’t work. Both partners should be active participants in financial decisions. No one has sole control. No one gets to opt out.
Information around finances should be shared openly. This doesn’t mean you have to merge all your assets or pore over each other’s credit card statements, however, financial infidelity (hidden bank accounts, credit cards etc) are red flags.
Discussing and writing down your financial goals will elicit a feeling of trust between you and your partner if done thoughtfully and respectfully. Taking time to process your financial dreams can bring you closer and avoid the conflict that I observe with so many couples.
We have the privilege of helping hundreds of families understand how they can use their wealth to fulfil their hopes, dreams, and ambitions. You can book a free 15 minute call here.
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