Three ways to heal your relationship with money

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Money has a significant impact on our lives and can often be a source of stress. The idea of living within our means is well and good in a stable economy, but with significant cost of living increases you’d be forgiven for feeling a little thin on the ground as 2024 gets underway. Financial woes can have a particular impact on relationships, where strain could result in tension with your partner. A survey found that 29% of couples found money to be the cause of the majority of their arguments.

However, by working together, you and your partner can heal your relationship with money and create a more stable financial future. Today I have been speaking with Emma who works in the industry, to bring you suggestions for a few ways that couples can overcome financial challenges and build a stronger foundation.

Establish a shared vision

In order to get started on your financial healing journey, you’ll need to establish a shared vision of what you both want to work towards. This might include saving for a much needed holiday, paying off debt or maintaining the fabric of your home. Whatever it is, take the time to discuss and identify goals that are most important to each of you.

Once you’ve decided on the vision you want to work towards, it’s time to set some short and long-term goals that can help you to get there. You’ll then need to analyse your spending and saving habits to fit with these goals, deciding on what you feel would best represent your shared priorities. It’s important to be willing to make compromises where necessary, as in the end, you’re working towards the same solid financial future. Building a reliable spreadsheet with your monthly outgoings on can be an easy way to keep in step with how you spend your money. If you make a note of everything it’s easy to see at a glance where those quick coffees out or impulsive online purchases are adding up.

With a shared vision in place, have a think about setting up a joint bank account if you haven’t already done so. You don’t have to put all of your money in there, but having clarity can really help. If you make this the source of outgoings for regular bills such as mortgage or rent, it can be easier to balance the rest of your income against your spending. That said, remember that activity on a joint account will impact both of your credit files, so make sure you use it responsibly to keep your finances in a healthy spot.

Encourage open communication

Arguments are often caused by simple miscommunications or assumptions and can be partially mitigated by promoting open and honest communication in a relationship. As a result, it’s essential to have open discussions about your financial goals, values and concerns. By actively listening to each other’s perspectives on your finances, you’ll have a clearer idea of what to expect going forward. This can be especially hard if one party is the main source of income in your relationship. Make time to listen and to be heard.

As bland an activity as it might seem, it’s also important to check in regularly with your partner to review your finances. This could include discussing your budgeting, tracking expenses and setting additional goals where needed to ensure that both parties are still on the same wavelength. It might also include reprioritising tasks, for example if a fence panel unexpectedly comes down in your garden you would likely pay to fix that and temporarily pause your holiday fund.

emil-kalibradov-unsplash wallet with money
Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash

Address your financial history

For many couples, past financial issues can continue to impact their habits and attitudes in the present. It’s crucial for both parties to be open and honest about any lingering financial conflicts or traumas, as this can help to build an understanding of the reasons behind any issues. This could mean talking it through together, or it may be beneficial to seek out the help of a financial therapist who can guide you through this process.

During this time, it’s important to be understanding. It’s always better to know about previous financial struggles in advance, as this way you can have a plan in place to handle any issues with compassion.

Embarking on your journey

Healing your relationship with money is not an overnight process. But with dedication it is possible to reach your goals. Trying to change deep-seated habits can be a tricky process so be gentle and forgiving with yourself.

By taking it one step at a time, you and your spouse can work towards building a solid foundation for your financial future. After all, a strong shared financial vision can lead to a more fulfilling and happy relationship in the long term.

Author bio

Emma James is a seasoned financial writer who aims to provide practical advice for couples to navigate the complex world of joint finances. When she’s not writing about money matters, you can find her exploring new destinations around the world.

N.B. This is a collaborative post. For more information about how I work with others, please take a look at my disclosure page.

Title image is courtesy of Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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