The Truth About Love and Money
Love and money. It’s a touchy subject, but definitely one that needs to be discussed when trying to build a life with someone. Don’t get me wrong, I know money can’t buy love or happiness, but it’s definitely a necessity.
Addressing Financial Differences
Personally, I’m a saver. I grew up in a household where we didn’t have much, but we found ways to save by budgeting and taking care of everything we had. My boyfriend on the other hand, is a spender. Not a spender in the sense that he’s always buying new clothes, shoes, etc., but he has never been one to save for a rainy day. He generally functions paycheck to paycheck and is ok with it. GULP. That’s when I knew we had to find a way to address our financial differences. Good relationships are about learning how to deal with everything together, and finances are a big part of that. So when my partner and I decided we wanted to make a go at it together, we set out to find common financial ground.
Let Go of Your Ego’s Need to Be Right
Unfortunately my EGO got in the way a lot in the beginning. Then I realized that when it came to money, I needed to tread lightly and let go of my expectations of what wise spending looked like.
To help, we decided to bring in a third-party that he trusted enough to discuss his financial situation with. While it was like pulling teeth for me when I tried to get him to understand my version of budgeting and saving, our third-party managed to get him right on track without much push back. That’s probably because I was too invested in my way being the right way. Once I let that go, talking about budgeting and savings was no longer taboo.
Set Savings Goals
The other thing that has helped is setting savings goals. Instead of having him save just because its financial sound (the only motivation I need), we’ve set up savings goals. His budget is now broken up into bills, spending money (his money to buy anything he wants, which I don’t get to judge) and three savings goals of his choosing. The first savings goal is geared toward raising enough money for a down payment on a new car. The second goal is geared toward vacations and weekend getaways. The last goal is to establish an emergency fund. At the end of the month we track our progress and celebrate it.
While discussing our finances is definitely on the table now, it’s not something he wants to discuss on a daily basis. So we decided to compromise. He now takes it upon himself to bring up his finances around payday. That assigned time keeps me from springing the money talk on him when he’s not in the mind space to do it. I in turn, have let go of my expectations and perspectives around our finances. I am more open to new ways in which we can each contribute toward our future together. As a result, we’re in a much better place.
How do you balance love and money in your relationship?