Relationships are a pivotal part of society. From a young age, we go looking for a soul mate to spend our hearts, our dreams and our futures. We think about sharing our homes and our day-to-day lives; we think about having children and pets together, but many people forget to think about sharing their wallets.
We often think that love conquers all, but money is the leading cause of relationship divorce and breakdown. While love is powerful, the hip pocket is mightier than the heart.
Love and Money, Where to Start?
While dating is a whirlwind and falling in love can be intoxicating, it is important to consider money early on in your relationship. While entering a relationship with equal finance is not necessary, entering a relationship with shared ideals is important.
In a relationship, money can quickly become a taboo conversation if it’s not handled from the beginning. Once you have been living together for a while patterns become established whether you had agreed on them or not. It is important to set up the structure around who is paying for what before the bills hit your doorstep, otherwise you may find an inequality in who pays for what.
What’s Mine Is Yours
Different countries and states have different laws about when couples are merely dating and when they are in a relationship for finance’s sake. After moving in together, you can start claiming the benefits of marriage such a shared tax returns and shared health insurance.
While there are many benefits, that are also risks. Once you are in a relationship, sharing a home, bills and supporting one another then your things become shared. Challenges are shared, furniture is shared, victories are shared and assets are shared. Both in your eyes, and possibly in the eyes of the law. Even if you aren’t married, if your relationship falls apart you may have to split your assets with your ex-partner, even without a wedding ring.
Developing Goals as a Couple
The strongest way to keep your finances on track and to protect your relationship is to make shared goals. Sharing money goals and discussing them regularly can be the quickest way to ensure that you and your partner are open about your spending habits.
Without shared targets, it can be easy to start spending ‘your’ money without considering how it affects the relationship. At first this can be okay – after all, no relationship ever broke down because of one extra beer at happy hour, or a new pair of shoes. However, when couples don’t have shared goals and one is saving heavily while the other is bulking out their wardrobe.
While relationship breakdown isn’t likely from a slight mismatch in spending habits, hiding those habits can become an issue. Especially when one partner is in debt (perhaps student loan debt), or brings debt to a relationship.
Without shared financial goals, and open communication money can tear apart even the most loving relationship.