Money imbalance in relationships can be a significant source of anxiety and stress.
For richer or poorer was the promise – OK maybe it was a suggestion of how you could live your life together, but not if one would be richer and the other poorer.
Money issues in dating relationships and marriages can play a leading role in them ending so here are a few ideas to try and ease the financial tension.
All I know is one of us is right, and the other one is you
The big relationship killers (how many do you have?)
Not exactly a cheery bingo game but here goes
- Money – we get to that in a minute
- Family & Friends – do we have to see them again?
- Children – you can have as many as you like, just not with me!
- Sex – we’ve done it once this year that’s your lot.
In short, who decides how often, when and how all-cause tensions and arguments till death us do part (or divorce then you can start having them all again with someone else)
It’s not my fault you thought I was normal – that’s on you
Does money affect your relationships?
Err yes, it’s always someone’s money that is getting spent and it better not be mine, I hear you say.
- It’s the starter ordered when we said we were only doing mains!
- The additional Alexa for the bathroom to stay connected!
- The new shoes because the old ones don’t work in the autumn light!
All these microaggressions or slights can slowly chip away at your relationship.
If you are finding that one person controls all the money or thinks all the money is theirs, then there might be an imbalance that needs to be addressed sooner than later.
Relationships are like a walk in the park, Jurassic park
How does money affect relationships?
Money imbalance in relationships can play a pivotal role in affecting them for the better or worse.
Who earns the most? Tensions over money, especially who makes the most often sees one starting to control the others access and use of money. “My husband is controlling with money” is the classic case where the husband is earning the most leading to financial inequality in money and its use.
Who controls the money? If only one person on making all the decisions it can feel like a dictatorship with the other “allowed” an allowance to live! If there is no equity in decision making and access, it’s going to lead to resentment and growing tension.
Are you keeping money secrets? Trying to keep secret what debts you have or how much you are spending is another drunk driver looking for a wall to hit. Growing debts and spending without the income to pay it off is going to come to light sooner or later. The longer it goes on, the worse it going to get when it comes out.
How do you decide to split the bills? Is it 50/50 or weighted on who earns what, i.e. the person that makes the most pays the most?
The restaurant bill is a classic example of this”, but you had two glasses of wine, and I had a soft drink!” “right hands up who had a starter and a sweet?”
Who does what in managing your household finances? Is there a clear separation, delegation and sharing of duties? Do you both feel in charge of your financial facts?
The above situations and questions highlight where tensions over control, transparency, clarity and accountability can arise over money and finances.
— Richard Jeni
What’s the purpose of your money?
Your attitude to money is likely playing a big part in any money imbalances in your relationship.
The classic battle is between the saver and the spender or good and evil as I like to say.
The Force vs the Dark side or vice versa depending on your outlook, i.e. you can’t take it with you, no, but it would be nice to have some of it on the last day (maybe?)
There can be a constant tension between who and how you earn money and then spend it.
One person’s investment in football stickers or shoes is another person’s version of burning it. Its seen as more or less the same outcome. The money has gone, and there is nothing of worth to show for it.
And now you need to return to work to pay it off or buy more crap/useful items.
Who’s is who’s and what’s what – right that’s all clear.
How you decide to spend, save and invest your money is a crucial part of working together on an agreed plan.
If there is no joint plan or joint vision of what your money is for then you may be pulling in opposite directions.
Have you agreed what the purpose of your money is? Is it for more stuff or more freedom?
“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.”
What’s your money script? (The right one, of course, there’s is wrong obvs)
Research by financial psychologist Brad Klontz has identified four money scripts or ways you might think about money. Are you any of these?
- Money avoider: Do you avoid money either thinking it is evil or something to be wary of? Rich people must be greedy, so you want nothing to do with them or become one.
- Money worshiper: More money will solve all my problems. In fact, they will never have enough money, and the more money they have, the more happiness and power they will feel.
- Money status(er): Stuff, especially expensive stuff, will bring you more status. Status brands are the must “oh is that the time” you say glancing at your Rolex.
- Money vigilant: Are you like a hawk watching your spending and budgeting? Frugality is your middle name; you like to save more than you want to spend.
Whichever one or more you are might help explain why you do what you do with your money and why they do what they do with YOUR money also.
“My wife gets all the money I make. I just get an apple and clean clothes every morning.”
— Ray Romano
How to deal with money issues in a relationship
Right here we go into the viper’s nest of relationships, standby
Tell the truth – ARE YOU SERIOUS!!! Right that’s it I am outta here!
No, I’m serious tell the truth about what you earn, what you owe and what you spend your money on. OK maybe not on the first
marriage date but soonish when it looks like it may be serious.
When they tell you w much they earn, notice how it makes you feel, do dollars signs light up or are you thinking hmm I ain’t paying for those poor choices. Better to know before you tie the knot.
Discuss your lifestyle ambitions – what are you aiming for, and is it compatible with them?
This may help prevent you pulling in opposite directions of the spender and the saver, FOMO vs jomo (fear of missing out vs joy of missing out).
Do you want to buy and house, travel and or have kids basically all the things that will require money one way or another and how would you like t plan for this or just wing it?
How will you balance spending vs saving? What’s on your horizon and when will you need the money?
Working together on a lifestyle financial plan will be a great way to share your vision and agree on how you will jointly reach it, balancing today’s needs with your future vision.
What type of holidays will you go on and how frequently?
Will you chase the Jones’s next door or live your own life?
Come clean about your debt – and what you’re planning to do about it.
Debt is going to be the treacle you try and swim through to get to your ideal lifestyle, obviously if you take more on its going to become more and more difficult.
How will you manage the debt you already have and how will you decide if or what more debt to take on and when?
How will you jointly manage your finances?
A joint account could be a suitable method just as well as separate accounts if you both have transparency about what is going on. One app available that will let you do this is Money Dashboard* where it brings all your financial info together to track and review.
Figure out your credit scores – and see what needs to be done to sort them out
This type of check will also help uncover any skeletons in the closet and or things you need to change to remove old relationships from your record.
Wanna see how people really are? wait till money is involved…
Summary: Money imbalance in relationships
Without a few changes in your money behaviours and habits, you might continue to have money issues in a marriage or your relationships.
Control over money is never a good way to start or continue a relationship. You need to figure out how the spender and the saver can coexist – maybe you need a financial lifestyle plan?
Come clean and share the damage. Better to come clean asap and start paying off the debt or get a refund for what you maybe could have done without buying.
Share responsibilities for managing your joint money which is leading towards your hopes and dreams for a good life together.
Decide what you really really really want and how to use your money to get it.
Plan for what you want, how to get it and deal with bumps in the road, i.e. redundancy, house or car emergencies, oh yeah and global pandemics when nearly everything stops.
Separate – will you keep some AGREED money separate for you to splurge without the guilt?
Are you tired of living paycheque to paycheque? Never able to save? Sick of being in debt?
Are you confused about money and all the financial options out there? Feel like you will never be able to save enough for a house, career change or retirement?
Would you like to?
- Be Debt-free
- Be confident in your money management skills and choices.
- Never have to worry about money again.
- Be building your wealth towards your most important goals – like making work optional one day!
Let us help you make the most of your money now while building a financially free future.
Our financial coaching will give you the support, guidance and accountability you need to succeed with money.
Start building your ideal life now because waiting will only make it more expensive and painful to achieve.
Plan, build and enjoy your money now.
Contact me here for a free chat about what options you might have for making money work for you.