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Why Love And Money Are Complicated

In some relationships, joint finances fit together well, but others find it a real struggle. Money Mentalist Lynda Moore explains how to make it work.

5 October 2021

Autumn 21

It can be hard enough to work out your own relationship with money. Then what happens? You fall in love.

Now you’re trying to figure out your partner’s relationship with money as well!

Often we fall in love with our opposites – that’s probably what attracted us in the first place.

So, how do you know if you’re financially compatible?

Think back to the early days of your relationship when you were getting to know each other. How did your partner behave with money and how did you respond?

Were they always shouting the drinks when you went out? Or getting out the calculator to make sure everyone paid their fair share? Did their behaviour make you cringe, or were you quite comfortable with it?

How did your partner respond to your money behaviour? If you bought something new, were you given the second-degree on how much it cost? Or were they very casual about how you spent money?

This will have given you a pretty good idea of how financially compatible you were.

If there were a few niggles, you might have thought ‘we can change each other’. Or, you might have decided it’s not going to work.

Or, like most people, you might have ignored the signs and carried on regardless.

There are three things you need for a successful money relationship:

  1. An understanding of your money personality, recognising that differences can be strengths, not something to argue about.
  2. That we all come into our relationships with our own stories (beliefs). If you have similar money beliefs to your partner, then you understand where you’re coming from and money just makes sense. If you come from different money beliefs, you should try number 3.
  3. Communicate about money. Yelling is not communicating! Neither is avoiding talking about it. Listen to each other and talk about your history, your family, your fears, and your dreams. Work as a team to reach your goals.

Financial infidelity

‘Financial infidelity’ can rip your relationship apart. I’m not talking about buying a pair of shoes and hiding them in the wardrobe for a couple of weeks. This is at the very low end of the scale and you can work through that.

At the high end of the spectrum is mortgaging your house without your partner knowing. Yes, I have seen this happen! More often it’s having credit cards or bank accounts your partner knows nothing about.

Financial infidelity isn’t just about decisions, or even hiding them. It’s the two together that breaches trust. It can be hard for a relationship to recover from that.

What does an unhealthy couple’s money relationship look like?

They’ll argue about money. One probably doesn’t have any idea what’s going on with the finances. Maybe they aren’t told, or maybe they just don’t want to know.

They have no idea how much debt they have, and they have no say in financial decisions.

There’s probably financial infidelity going on from both sides.

These relationships can struggle on for years. But if something happens to upset the equilibrium, you could be headed for a messy divorce.

What does a healthy couple’s money relationship look like?

They have complete transparency about their financial position, they talk about money, have a plan, and make big decisions together.

They’ll have some ‘play’ money to spend as they like, but generally their finances will be merged.

Get started!

How do you build a healthy relationship with money as a couple?

Start early. Watch your behaviours, understand each other’s backgrounds. What baggage have you brought into this relationship?

When your relationship evolves from just dating, use a weekend away together as a chance to talk about money, and who’s paying for what.

The easier you and your partner find it to talk about money, the easier it’ll be to invest it to reach your financial goals.

Lynda Moore is a Money Mentor Coach and accountant, www.moneymentalist.com.

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