Whether you’re married or are in a long-term relationship with your girlfriend, it’s no secret to you that money often proves to be the doom of relationships, in today’s materialistic society especially. Issues relating to dollars and cents — or a lack thereof — have ruined some of the happiest, fun-loving relationships around. Specifically, pertaining to those indulging in live-in relationships, there are many ways to avoid certain financial downfalls. Be mindful that these regulations become effective the moment the two of you decide to move in together. However, though these laws may prove to be beneficial throughout the entire duration of your relationship, however long that may be, it isn’t necessary to invoke them endlessly or bash her over the head with them every chance you get. Sit down with her and lay down the laws together so that both of you are on the same page. Communication is the relevant issue here, but hopefully you realize that she is much more than your financial partner.
Many relationship money issues emerge from the simple fact that couples spend too much time thinking about money and too little time thinking about the things like romance, vacation, family, and building a future together — and not thinking about money at the same time is very difficult indeed. It’s hard enough trying to find someone you like, let alone having to contend with monetary concerns that can work negatively in the progression of your relationship. It would only make sense to try to alleviate some of the unnecessary bickering that can arise over something as small as, “Who’s turn it is to pay the dinner tab?” or “Why wasn’t the cable bill paid on time?” or “Why is there no money to pay for a trip to Hawaii?”
Since spending habits vary from person to person, it is highly recommended that you and your partner sit down and converse about how to marry the two behavior types in a fashion that will not disrupt the flow of your relationship, or the flow of cash. Where most couples neglect to take the time to hash out issues that can potentially ruin their relationship, we have provided a few topics that should be shared between you and your partner before you make that financial commitment toward each other’s lives.
Treat outings as dates; the 3:1 ratio must be applied
We all know that dating is essential to keeping a relationship alive, whether you are married or have recently moved in with your significant other. We recommend maintaining the 3:1 ratio in your effort to treat dates the same as you did prior to living with each other. This rule of thumb simply means that for every three dates you pay for, she should pay for one. Or in today’s world, whoever makes the most money pays for three, the other pays for the next.
Past credit history must be clarified by both parties
There is nothing worse than being blindsided by discovering that your significant other is buried in debt. Discrepancies in one’s history can potentially present problems for your financial future, especially when it comes to making major purchases, like a house. Though we feel this is something to be clarified prior to moving in with each other, waiting until the appropriate moment to discuss this matter can be difficult.
Yet, overall, it is best to communicate the issue so that you remain on the same page moving forward. If your partner is shy or upset about her credit history, don’t push her into sharing everything right away. Talk her through your financial situation and put her at ease. Not everyone is great with money and you need to understand that going into these laws.
Discussed major purchases before buying
Once the two of you have settled into your nice little love nest you’ll see how expenses and the distribution of funds will become all-consuming. But, don’t fret. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. The allocation of funds is extremely important here — especially if you are still using two separate accounts. Each of you should have your own “allowance,” given on a weekly basis, that can be spent however you wish.
But, when it comes to major purchases, such as televisions, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, etc., be considerate and discuss this with her before the transaction is complete. And we’re not just talking furniture here either; that PS3 you’ve had your eye on? Talk to her before you drop the cash and come home with the surprise. In fact, it may be a good idea to define what exactly constitutes as a major purchase. And this means that anything over that amount should not be purchased unless a mutual decision has been made, no questions asked.
Financial responsibilities must be disclosed
It’s not unusual for people to hand over the checkbook to their significant other and leave all the banking responsibilities to one person. However, we feel that no single partner should be the banker or the money cop. Each of you should have a vested interest in how much goes in and out of your accounts. To leave the financial responsibility to one person is irresponsible. And the designated banker may feel overwhelmed and grow to loathe their responsibilities in the relationship. Therefore, both of you are responsible — not just one. Relationships are about sharing after all.
Create a vacation/entertainment account
If the two of you decide not to share accounts, we do recommend that at least you create one that is strictly for vacation and entertainment purposes — a joint savings account that you can both add to freely, but not withdraw from unless you both go to the bank. Since income may vary between the two of you, each person is required to put the same percentage of their paycheck into this account, leaving it untouched until an event, outing or date is planned.
laying down the monetary law
Following these tips will not only equip you and your partner with ways to avoid relationship catastrophes, but you will also see how this opens up the lines of communication between the two of you. Being able to discuss your concerns regarding issues such as finances can be extremely difficult at first. Yet, in the long run it will prove to be the wisest and safest tactic you have ever considered in a long-term relationship. Over time, these types of discussions and behavior patterns will become second nature, which allows you and your girlfriend to place your efforts on building and strengthening your commitment and sustaining it in other areas, such as intimacy and romance.