Couples consistently report finances as the leading cause of stress in their relationship. Here are a few tips to avoid conflict with your long-term partner or spouse:
Be honest with each other about your financial status. As you enter a committed relationship, each partner should learn about the status of the other person's debts, income and assets. Any surprises down the road may feel like dishonesty and lead to conflict.
Discuss Future Plans Often
The closer you are with your partner, the more you will want to know about the other person's future plans. Kids, planned career changes, travel, hobbies, retirement expectations - all of these will depend on money and shared resources. So, discuss these plans and create the financial roadmap to go with them. Remember that even people in a long-term marriage may be caught unaware if they fail to keep up communication and find out their spouse's priorities have changed over time.
Know your Comfort Levels
As you discuss your future plans, bring up hypotheticals: How much debt is too much? What level of spending versus savings is acceptable? How much would you spend on a car, home or vacation? You may be surprised to learn that your assumptions about these things fall outside your partner's comfort zone.
Divide Responsibilities, Combine Forces
Try to divide financial tasks such as paying certain bills, updating a budget, contributing to savings and making appointments with tax and financial advisors. Then periodically trade responsibilities over time. Even if one person tends to be better at numbers, it's best to have both members participating. By having a hand in budgeting, planning and spending decisions, you will be constantly reminded of how you are doing financially to the strength of your relationship.
Learn to Love Commitment.
No two people have the same priorities or personalities, so differences of opinion are going to happen. One person is going to want to spend, while the other wants to save. Vacation may be on your spouse's mind, while you want to put money aside for a new car. By acknowledging that these differences of opinion will happen, you will be less frustrated when they do. Treat any problems as opportunities to negotiate and compromise. Instead of looking at the outcome 'I did not get everything I wanted,' think of it as 'We both made sacrifices out of love for each other'.
You may have heard that last year more than 143 million Americans had their data exposed in a hacking security breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax. The information exposed included names linked with phone numbers and Social Security numbers. In other words, everything a hacker would need to try a port-out scam.
As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your situation please feel free to call.