The average household has 132,086 in debt. The average credit cards debt in 2015 was $15,310 the total debt owed by U.S. consumers is $712 billion dollars! The average mortgages debt was $171,775 the total debt owed by U.S. consumers is $8.37 trillion dollars! Student loan debt for Americans was 48,986 and $1.26 trillion. (Source: Nerdwallet)
The topic of finances can be a hot topic for many couples. The idea of joining finances can be overwhelming. The idea of sharing debt together can be a whole other issue. The idea of taking such serious steps can cause a lot of stress. This post will give you some tips on how to start turning things around as a team to knock out the money management concerns you may have.
Signs a couple may be in trouble with money matters
Couples not on the same page about finances argue frequently about money. They have a hard time talking about money without it turning into an argument. Many times one partner will disagree with how the other person spends money. Lack of financial security can stirrup stress in the home environment. This stress can make it difficult for couples to communicate. This can spill into other areas of life. Partners may start to resent one another. The couple may talk less. One of the partners may not feel as secure with the other partner. Sometimes the person may not feel as respected by the other partner because their money concerns are not being understood or supported. The family home life and environment may become more intense. Not talking about it doesn’t make the problem go away. They are just not talking about it.
The Good Things that Happen When Couples Talk about Money
When couples start to have those conversations about money and finance things can turn around in an amazing way. They will be able to have clear discussions about money that do not lead to arguments. The couple will be on the same page. The couple will feel accomplished as a team. They will build an even closer bond. One person will not be solely responsible for the finances. When both people are aware of how the money is used for the family they can be more of a team. Knowledge is power, once they both have a clear understanding of how the money is being used they can make better decisions related to money. They will be able to successfully tackle any financial goal that comes there way together.
How to Stack as a Couple
Talk about it
Yes, talking about money can be uncomfortable at times however it is a must. Share with your partner about your relationship with money. What is your opinion and feeling about money? How do you see it fitting into your life? Respect that each of you may feel or relate to money differently. Come together and agree on how you will tackle money problems. Set money rules for the home and family. Things you may want to consider such as talking before making major purchases. Review finances monthly together instead of just one person doing it. If it’s a must talk about the small purchases.
Create a budget
Have a full picture of what your finances look like. I mean EVERYTHING! Take into account all the expenses. Down here in South Texas if you stop and get your breakfast taco and coffee in the morning add it into the budget. This way you can see how much money is being spent and how things add up. Capture all the information everything coming in and going out of the home. You may find that your Netflix is only 10.81 a month but for 12 months it comes to 129.72. That money could be used to pay off something else or put towards another bill. If you can afford it keep the Netflix just make sure that it fits within your family/couple budget. Remember everything adds up. Make sure that things are moving in a direction you both are comfortable with.
Set household goals
After you have looked at everything and taken everything into account do something about it. Create joint goals as a couple. If you want to agree to pay off credit card debit, add on a new patio or go on a family trip, plan for it. Plan for your future (retirement, major family trips). Consider paying off all major debt before you jump into additional financial commitments if possible. Then look at your long game, things like retirement.
THE COUPLE CHALLENGE
I encourage you to sit down and have that conversation with your partner about finances. Share your level of comfort and desired goals. Work together to get on the same page. You will soon find out that you can tackle anything together if you are both willing to work at it.
Additional financial resources
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Flourishing Hope Counseling PLLC is a Kingsville, Texas Private Practice