From the beginning of a relationship, starting with the awkwardness of who pays on the first date, money can be a tricky subject to navigate in any relationship.
According to Money Advice Service, financial issues are one of the most common underlying causes for arguments. Learning to discuss money in a healthy and productive way can be difficult, especially if you find yourself under financial strain. In a time where financial and employment uncertainty is uncomfortably prevalent, in this blog we explore the underlying pressures and how you can effectively navigate money matters together.
Money, as we know, is stressful enough as a standalone matter. Add another person into the mix, and it can become even more so frustrating. These are just a few common disagreement triggers that can negatively influence your relationship:
When one partner is the main ‘bread-winner’ it can be easy to feel redundant or undervalued in a relationship and create unconscious power imbalances. On the other hand, the partner who is a higher earner or the sole worker in the family may feel under pressure to provide. It is important to remember that a relationship is also a partnership – you both bring something to the relationship such as earning money or caring for your children, if you have them.
· Saver or spender?
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your money. Equally, saving for a rainy day or for something you both really want, like a holiday, is just as important. Identifying and owning what kind of spenders you and your partner are could make it easier to come to a compromise when budgeting.
· Financial pressures & unemployment
As we know, the pandemic has placed a huge strain on the economy and has seen many lose their jobs. Under an already stressful situation, this can underpin arguments or potentially cause misplaced anger in relationships.
·’ Financial infidelity’
According to Investopedia, ‘financial infidelity’ describes when one hides or spends shared money without the other’s knowledge. This can cause insecurity in a relationship and can lead to financial issues if gone unaddressed.
Addressing the Issue — our 5 tips
It sounds obvious, but communication is key. Take the time to speak to your partner about your expectations or concerns, without distractions. If things get heated, take a break and come back together when you feel ready to discuss your situation in a productive way. Try to avoid the ‘blame game’, but instead listen to each other’s perspectives and spending habits.
Pre-planning and budgeting together can be a great way to make sure you’re on the same page. If you think it would be helpful, agree to use a budget that records all of your income and outgoings. Marriage Care has an example spreadsheet which you can download.
A recent Toucan Blog — 10 tips to make talking about money with your partner a little bit easier — suggests reflecting on your relationship with money. The blog advises: “There can be tensions as a result of peer pressure to have things, the way money affected our childhoods, and also what we need and want for our children, if we have them.”
Try not to bury your head in the sand. It is easy to avoid mounting money issues, especially if you are under financial strain, or your relationship is suffering as a result. Having the conversation sooner rather than later can make things easier further down the line for both of you.
If you are struggling to address money in your relationship, try and reflect on why that might be. Toucan suggests that some people hide their spending due to feelings of shame. It may be uncomfortable to confront issues, but sharing your worries may help to take the burden off.
When to Access Support
Money can be a taboo subject and uncomfortable to discuss. However, if you are feeling that your relationship is suffering and you are struggling to talk it through, accessing Relationship Support may help. Having an impartial observer to help facilitate and mediate a conversation in a safe, non-judgmental environment can be a productive way to find the underlying cause of the friction.
If you feel your money issues are serious and you are being unfairly treated or financially exploited by your partner (or anyone) it is always important that you reach out for help.
Money is a common issue in relationships. It may feel like you are alone in this situation, but there are a lot of resources out there that can help:
Toucan Together’s Money Module helps you explore your attitudes around money and navigate any pressure points to understand each other better. It’s packed with skills and tools to equip you to manage debt, savings and priorities better together. GET STARTED | LOG IN