No, we haven't always done things the “normal way” (we combined finances YEARS ago and often receive flack for that), but in the end things worked out well for us. I think that's because we make sure to be open about money.
I have witnessed many people around me make several money mistakes. I know people who have never once discussed a budget (even budgets that suck!) with their significant other, even though they are married. I also know others who have broken marriages/relationships because of secret debt, financial infidelity, and more.
No, life isn't all about money, but money does play a big factor in a relationship.
I'm all for people doing their own thing in life, but, in general, the money behaviors below can lead to big mistakes when in a relationship. Money mistakes can lead to debt, delayed retirement, stress, heartache, and more.
Who wants all of that? Not me!
Below are financial mistakes that couples should try to avoid:
Assuming that merging finances is right for everyone.
Even though Wes and I have merged finances, I know plenty of others who have completely separate finances and wouldn't have it any other way. As I always say “Everyone is different.”
There is no right or wrong way for anyone, and there are positives and negatives to combining or keeping everything separate. You should research the differences and see what is right for you and your relationship.
Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that everything needs to become one.
Not talking about money with your significant other.
If you are in a relationship, you should talk about money at least somewhat. And if you are married, in a serious relationship and/or have combined finances, then you DEFINITELY need to be talking about money.
You should discuss your credit scores, past money problems, any debt that the other person may have, how the monthly budget is going, and more. You should be able to openly talk about money with your significant other without it turning into stress or a money fight.
We talk about money all the time. Honestly, at first I think Wes hated it. Now he is used to it and we understand how to talk about money to each other without us starting to bicker at each other. We talk about what we can improve on, what changes need to be made, how our spending is doing, retirement, and more and these are talks that we actually enjoy having with each other.
Having only only person understand the financial situation that you two are in TOGETHER.
This is something that me and Wes are guilty of. I've always been in charge of our finances just because I have always been better with managing them. Also, training another person just seemed like added stress because we would probably often over check what we've done.
However, this is a huge problem that I am working on changing. We have many bills, retirement, cars, etc., and if something were to happen to me then Wes would be completely out of the loop and it would be very hard to manage on his own. Just clueing your loved one in can be helpful.
Before you laugh and think we are crazy for making this relationship money mistake, MOST couples are actually this exact same way – usually just one person handles all of the finances.
Also, it helps everyone stay on the same page. If one person is doing all the work then all of the financial burden can fall on them as well.
Keeping something money-related a secret from your significant other.
This is a tough one, but it's something that I've seen pop up several times recently. Keeping something money-related a secret from your loved one can be a huge problem.
They can feel like they were left out, that you didn't trust them, and/or that you are financially cheating.
Money secrets may include:
- Secret debt.
- Secret money saved.
- Lying about how good or bad the family is financially doing.
- And more, of course!
Completely throwing out the idea of getting a prenup.
Okay, so me and Wes don't have a prenup, but we also combined our finances when we were young and had nothing. However, there are many instances where having a prenup may be a great idea for a couple. No, it doesn't mean that you don't trust the person you are in a relationship with.
The fact is that you never know what will happen later. What if YOU are the problem later on? It happens!
Read my post Should You Get a Prenup?
What financial mistakes have you seen or experienced?
If you are not in a relationship, what mistakes will you make sure to avoid?
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