February 08th, 2023
How talking about money with your partner may save your relationship
If you have found it difficult to weather the cost of living crisis, it seems you’re in the majority.
In the year to January 2023, inflation rose to 10.1% – a 40-year high – causing financial worries for households up and down the UK. A study published by the Yorkshire Times predicts one-third of Brits will dip into savings this year in order to help shoulder the cost of living crisis.
If you live with your partner, civil partner, or spouse – or are planning to move in together in the near future – money worries could be causing tension in your relationship.
If you have different attitudes to saving, investing, sharing, and spending your money, the cost of living crisis could put these gaps under the microscope.
Indeed, a survey of couples’ therapists, published by the Guardian, revealed one-third of participants said there’d been an increase in couples discussing money worries since the cost of living crisis began.
Fortunately, with some helpful communication tips, you could be on track to rectify any problems that have arisen since money became a little tight.
Here are some key financial issues that could affect you and your partner, and how to work towards solving them.
3 financial factors that could put your relationship at risk
If you’re looking to stamp out any issues before they have the chance to arise – or perhaps you’re already arguing about money, and want to know which issues might be helpful to address – here are three factors that could cause a rift in your relationship.
- Different spending habits
There are plenty of factors that contribute to a person’s spending habits. These might include:
- Whether or not they grew up with ample family money
- Their attitude to risk (more on this below!)
- The amount they earn
- The things they choose to prioritise
- Their financial security, for example if they anticipate a large inheritance, own their home outright, or have a final-salary pension.
If you and your significant other have different spending habits based on these or other factors, you could begin arguing about them when costs rise.
Needing to keep close tabs on your spending during the cost of living crisis might mean your partner’s habits, which previously didn’t bother you, are now frustrating for you – or vice versa.
- Mismatched life goals
Often, financial disputes aren’t actually about money – they’re about what you want to do with it.
For instance, if you wish to help your children financially, pay off your mortgage as fast as possible, and retire earlier than the average age, you might be highly motivated to save in a disciplined fashion.
On the other hand, if your partner simply wants to take life as it comes and spend more freely on holidays and other luxuries, they may not see saving as a high priority.
While neither approach is “wrong”, mismatched life goals can lead to financial disputes. After all, life costs money, so planning as a couple is all about aligning the life you want with what you’ll need to get there.
- Contrasting attitudes to risk
If you are investing your wealth, looking for a new home, or even starting a business together, contrasting attitudes to risk can cause issues in your relationship.
One person may be comfortable with a higher level of market volatility or debt, for example, leading to arguments about the level of risk your combined finances are exposed to.
2 effective communication tips for couples arguing about money
So, the cost of living crisis has pushed you and your partner into financial arguments. You might be wondering: “what now?”
With the above factors in mind, here are some healthy communication tips for couples fighting about money.
- Choose to see the good intentions behind your partner’s actions – and have the bravery to discuss both
In an article published on LinkedIn by Dr Raghav Suri, a psychologist researching the concept of “intentional living”, he encourages couples to see the intention, as well as the impact, of their partner’s decisions.
For example: if your partner dips into their savings to take you on a surprise getaway, you could have mixed feelings. You might feel happy they are treating you to a fun experience, while also feeling angry they’ve used their much-needed savings for something frivolous.
In these kinds of situations, Suri invites couples to “empower yourself to share how things impact you”, claiming these somewhat uncomfortable discussions can lead to greater self-awareness for both parties.
By choosing to have these conversations regularly, you could help your partner understand your frustrations while still showing your appreciation for them.
- Work with a financial planner who can mediate your financial conversations
There is no shame in being in a rut. If the cost of living crisis has put pressure on your relationship, you’re not alone.
Whether it’s an issue of life goals, saving strategies, helping the next generation, retirement planning, or any other financial factor you’re tackling together, we can help.
Working with a financial planner can help you:
- Have goals-oriented conversations that focus on your plans
- Discuss your financial habits with a seasoned expert
- Seek solutions when you’re in stalemate
- Answer any questions that have been worrying you as a couple.
The cost of living crisis might be challenging, but you don’t have to bear it alone.
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This article is no substitute for financial advice and should not be treated as such. To determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances, please contact us.