How to Discuss Finances in a Relationship: 4 Things to Know

Aimee Cerka
by Aimee Cerka

One of the biggest issues in a marriage, or even when preparing for a divorce, is how to handle finances in a relationship. You've probably heard that finances are a leading cause of relationship problems and it's no wonder! It's hard to stay happy together when there's financial stress and money imbalances in the relationship.

We’ll discuss how these problems of love and money in a relationship begin. We’ll also talk about the myths about how to handle finances in a relationship, when to talk about finances in a relationship, and my favorite strategy to help “save” marriages.

1. Stop saying your spouse doesn’t understand

Both people in a relationship come from two totally different backgrounds with their own set of perceptions, views, and beliefs about finances and money. Typically one person in the relationship is a spender and the other is a saver.

The problem is you don’t feel heard when it comes to money. You don’t feel your spouse understands you. But it’s only that you are approaching things from two different beliefs.

You have to understand that your spouse is showing up the best way that they can. Each person believes they are doing the right thing. There’s not typically any malicious intent behind it. It’s just their beliefs are based on their upbringing, as are yours.

If you ignore that aspect of your relationship, then your spouse won’t feel heard, and everyone gets frustrated. No one is trying to be mean, there are just different goals, priorities, views, and belief systems that are showing up when you try to talk about money.

Communicating about finances

2. Stop saying you need to make more money

There’s someone out there making $500 or $1,000 more than you do and saying the same thing. We have to be able to manage things and move forward from where we’re at.

Yes, we are always looking to grow and move forward. But we’re not taking care of where things are actually at, that’s a problem.

If we don’t have a budget, then one person is typically trying to take care of the finances and feels burdened because they are doing all the work, or they have to say “no,” or they’re doing things and trying to make everything work and it’s not working because no one actually stops to look at where they’re actually at.

First, you need to be able to stop and discuss how to manage the money that you have now.

3. Stop saying it’s just the way it is

You may be saying this is just the way it is and “We’re never going to do better with our finances,” or “This is who I am,” but whatever your perspective, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to finances. You can always do better.

How to discuss finances in a relationship

4. Stop saying you’re already doing great

The other side of the coin is believing you’re already doing great or "We’re already doing pretty good.” You may think you have it handled, you’re making enough money, and you’re not hurting. But we don’t know what we don’t know.

If the billionaires out there are still hiring coaches and working to improve themselves, we probably have room for improvement, too. There’s always room for improvement and a way to move to the next level in our finances but it needs to be discussed openly.

My favorite strategy to save marriages

I love percentage-based budgeting. It is the best way by far to budget that I have ever found because it handles inconsistent income, scales with you as you grow, and takes the stress out of budgeting for you.

Within a percentage-based budgeting account, you have an account that’s called your “play account.” A percentage of your income goes into your play account.

Within the play account, you have two blow money accounts. One is for you and the other one is for your spouse. They are separate accounts within one account. That is your money to do whatever the heck you want as long as it’s legal, moral, and ethical. It is an equal account regardless of what you or your spouse makes as income.

You do what you want with your money–you can take it out in cash, you can put it in another separate account–you choose. How much goes into these accounts is determined by your budget because it’s a percentage not a set amount.

This strategy saves marriages because one of us is a spender and the other is a saver and we don’t have to change. So the spender gets to go spend their blow money. The saver can save their blow money.

This is so important because we have to create that positive relationship with money. This is the best way to prevent money from ruining a relationship.

How to discuss finances in a relationship

How does money affect your relationship? Let me know in the comments if you’re a spender or a saver in the relationship. Also, let me know if you think you have any of the above myths going on in your relationship that prevent you from moving forward with your financial goals.

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