Money and relationships might be one of the toughest personal finance topics to tackle. It takes a topic that should be purely about math and logic – money – and combines it with something that is generally purely about empathy, understanding, and compromise. Dealing with money while in a relationship is something that most everyone has to do at some point in their life, especially when it comes to aligning financial goals with your significant other. Here are some ways to accomplish this, without ending up in a screaming match.
I don’t mean list off your financial goals and your five year plan as soon as you sit down to dinner on your first date, but it’s important to know that you are both headed in the same direction. I definitely didn’t do this. I dated my high school sweet heart for eight years before we actually had a conversation about what we wanted out of life (four years of high school + four years of university = eight years of not setting financial goals) Fortunately we were already pretty much on the same page, aside from a few small discrepancies.
Be Open to Compromise
I’m not talking about anyone in particular, but a lot of personal finance bloggers tend to think that their way is the right way – and this doesn’t generally get the best results when it comes to talking about financial goals with a loved one. I have a very clear idea of where I’d like my life to go – but I might not necessarily get to have every single last detail of that plan, because my husband has a few priorities that are somewhat different from mine. That’s perfectly fine, because his values are just as important as mine in our relationship. In order to be successful together, and to move forward towards our goals together, we’ve both had to compromise on what we want.
It might be that your goal is to be able to retire by the time you’re 40, and the person you’re seeing wants to travel to every continent before they have kids. Obviously, these two goals are in conflict, and you might not be able to achieve both. Be realistic about what you can accomplish, and compromise on a plan you are both happy with. The sooner you get some hard numbers down to see if what you want together is even possible, the better.
Make Sure You Get What You Need
I know I just got through saying that being open to compromise is important, but if you find yourself compromising your financial goals to the point where you aren’t even happy anymore – that might be a sign that you aren’t with the right person. Money isn’t everything in a relationship, there are so many other factors that can make or break a relationship – but it’s still extremely important. If two people have fundamentally different views on money, and it’s apparent that they aren’t going to change anytime soon – that’s probably a recipe for disaster.
I’m still young, and I’m still getting the hang of successfully setting financial goals. That said, every time I set a goal, I make sure that it’s moving me in a direction that both of us will be happy with. If we aren’t moving forward together, then what’re we doing?
What methods do you use to successfully set financial goals with your spouse?
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