Debt problems are considered to be the #1 reason why couples argue. Want to overcome the problem? Set spending goals - and stick to them.
Arguing About Debt Problems
When it comes to personal finances, a lot of people just don’t see things the same way as their partners. For some, this is only a minor irritation, but for other couples, financial issues are the primary cause of a relationship breakdown.
A lot of advice for couples starts with the idea that both partners should “be on the same page.” This is easy to say, but hard to do – especially in situations where partners might not even know what “page” the other is on.
You can start the process of understanding each other's approach to finances by having a serious conversation about the future you’d like to see.
The purpose of doing this is to get a sense of direction, as well as an indication of the way you each spend money and the way you live.
Setting and Fulfilling Goals
How To: Set Goals
The goals you set with your partner should be realistic and achievable, but they should also be significant enough to motivate and encourage you as a team. As a couple, you’ll have to come up with goals that both of you can agree on. You should be looking at different sets of goals - short-term (under a year), intermediate (within 5 years), and long-term (more than 5 years).
Once you’ve identified goals that both of you can agree on, you’ll need to develop a plan for achieving each goal. You’ll need to think of how much money you’ll need to reach the goal, and then you’ll have to work out how much money you should be putting aside weekly/monthly/yearly to achieve this.
An obvious note here – becoming debt-free is a very common goal for most individuals and households. It should be approached with the same drive, motivation and perseverance as any other goal you have.
How To: Fulfill Goals
Whatever your financial goal might be, you’ll have to move from dream to reality - the dream of doing it to the accomplishment of having done it.
When we talk about a “plan for money" we’re talking about a budget or spending plan. You may wish to refer to for additional assistance. We need to point out that, in the case of couples, there are two of you who have to agree on all the elements of your budget. This is where you really get on the same page and our certified Credit Counsellors can help you do that as a couple.
Most people will start out by tracking their spending for a period of time. This will give you an idea of what is really happening with your money, as opposed to what you’d ideally spend your money on. Once this is done, you and your partner can re-examine your goals and re-think any goals that may not be realistic. You may have to change some of your spending habits and introduce lifestyle changes in order to meet your desired goals.
Credit Counselling Can Change Your Life
It all comes down to your goals and commitment. Want more? Take our Budget Calculator for a spin!
What if There Are Already Spending and Debt Problems?
If either of you think that your spending or debt has gotten out of control, it’s important to stop this process before it gets any worse. If necessary, you should in your community.