For the past two days I seem to be getting bombarded by shows featuring couples who are having money issues. The gist of these shows is simple, one person is spending too much, one person is saving, the spender thinks they have the right to spend, the saver is resentful of the spender’s spending, yet somehow….they both think they are on the same page in terms of their future together.
On one show the wife said she spends on name brand clothes because her kids deserve the best, but when the judge asked her if her soon to be teenage kids had a college fund her answer was no. On another show, the husband was spending money behind the wife’s back, even though they were supposed to be saving towards retirement and a new house. He felt it was ok because it would just “work itself out in the end”.
Money is one of the main reasons most couples fight and in some cases get divorced. Money matters can put such a strain on a marriage that the core foundation of the union gets lost and forgotten; the sole focus becomes about money and materialistic things. My question is, if we know money is the root of all evil and can destroy our happy homes, why doesn’t anyone talk about it? When we’re getting to know someone we’ll ask every question under the sun, but steer clear of any questions concerning money. We let these relationships progress to the point of cohabitation or marriage and still steer clear of “touchy” subjects such as money for fear that we’ll strike a nerve, be seen as a goldigger/materialistic or run the person off.
However not speaking about it early on is how we end up in relationships or marriages where we’re pissed off because the light bill is 3 months past due and the cells are turned off one way, but yet our partner just bought a new Louis or tickets to a Nets game. The same way we feel comfortable enough to let the other person know early on that we’re looking for a commitment, certain qualities, children, etc, is the same way we should feel comfortable enough to discuss how we manage our money and what our financial goals are……especially once things begin to get serious.
Talking about these things early can save us a lot of pain, anger and resentment and it can help to make sure that both people are truly on the same page when it comes to money matters. Don’t get me wrong, I like to splurge as much as the next person and I do believe people should treat themselves, but splurging should not come at the expense of your future or your relationship.
How soon is too soon to talk about money habits? Did you talk about financial habits and goals with your partner? How important is it to you that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to financial goals?