Debt Confessions: How Should Couples Deal with Debt Together?Feb 13, 2018
Do you and your partner have different views about debt, spending or saving? Are you annoyed about how your partner handles their personal finances? Our Debt Confessions poll allowed Canadian couples to weigh in about their significant other’s financial skills. The results shows that the majority of Canadians in a relationship, 59 per cent to be exact, want to change at least one of their partner’s financial habits.
Money stress = relationship stress
Debt has a tendency to cause stress between couples, especially when dealing with a heavy debt load. Working as a team and having a solid debt repayment plan can dissolve this type of stress because when you’re working toward a goal, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, a divided front can lead to further stress within the relationship and ultimately, deeper financial problems.
Identifying the glaring issues
The results of our Debt Confessions poll shows that couples who struggle with the most debt are the least likely to discuss their finances together. Here are a few ways to open the lines of communication and reduce debt at the same time:
- What’s working and what isn’t?
Together, put aside some time to go over your finances. Start with a positive approach and label all the things about your finances that are going well. This isn’t a time to point fingers or pass judgement. Talk rationally about what isn’t going so well and come up with a clear, concise plan to make it better together. Poll results found that couples are most dissatisfied with their partners’ ability to budget, track spending, and save for long term goals. Create a budget that ties all those elements together so you can both reach your goals.
- What’s most important?
Don’t get intimidated by the numbers, simply figure out your highest priorities together. If paying down debt is top of the list, how will you start making your debt payments more efficient? Use this debt repayment calculator to compare each option, based on your current debt. You may then wish to speak to a debt professional to take action. If saving more money is high on your list, refer to the FCAC’s SMART goal module so you can set realistic expectations.
- Accept your differences
You and your partner may have entirely different money values and that’s OK! Come to an agreement by dividing financial tasks based on each other’s strengths. For instance, if one partner is an efficient grocery shopper who sticks to the list and doesn’t buy extras, assign them the task. This will keep your budget balanced and your goals in view. Remember, compromise is key! You must both feel like you are reaching your combined goals as well as your own personal goals. This will keep you both motivated to become an unstoppable team.
Don’t let your money differences cause conflict. Discuss your finances frequently and allow for flexibility and learning experiences. Setting small, achievable goals that meet both of your needs can help you both improve your financial literacy and relationship. For more money motivation, follow finance blogger Mrs. January for personal finance, debt help and frugal living ideas.