Healthy love and compatibility in a budding relationship are wonderful qualities and can take you a long way. If your attitudes about money matters don’t match, however, warning bells instead of wedding bells could be ringing.
Have you had the “Talk” yet? You know, that talk about money. Have you talked about those taboo topics like a personal budget, spending, and debt issues? Do you know where that special someone in your life stands when it comes to savings, planning, and overall financial awareness? What emotions surface or old memories get triggered when money issues come up? Perhaps there were role models that never talked about money or demonstrated negative emotions about it. Are you now adept at sidestepping the whole topic?
If this relationship is on track for the next commitment step, it’s time for the “Talk”. Go ahead, make that date, have some wine, remember the priority of the love you have for each other and slowly dive in. Discover where you match and where you want to adjust on the following financial money matters.
Budgeting – Liberating or Depriving?
Choosing to work with a personal budget plan on a regular basis can be very freeing. Think of it as a tool that allows you to spend without guilt and save with more ease. Once you have a spending plan, you KNOW what you have available to spend and no longer are worrying, guessing or depending on a credit card as a type of “supplemental income” to get you through “just in case”. This means managing bills in a timely manner, avoiding late fees and knowing what to anticipate, rather than being blindsided by supposed “emergencies.”
What is it about having a personal spending plan and being in control of your choices and spending that still feels like deprivation?
Spending – Conscious or Unconscious?
Does your day of convenient cashless spending go by on autopilot with no conscious recollection of the lattes, or downloads throughout the day? Any clue how much money just trickled out of your account that day?
Or are you on top of it, working with handy tracking systems and alerts? You have conscious mental practices keeping you aware of your spending plan and the impact on your overall balance.
Debt – Something to Avoid or Just a Way of Life?
Debt often has a variety of emotional charges around it related to childhood memories, debt collectors or impossible student loans. Based on your life experiences or temperament, are you the type who focuses on avoiding or eliminating debt at all costs? Or, do you tend to mortgage your future against today’s “necessities”? After all, why not live for today and trust the universe will take care of tomorrow.
Savings – Saver or a Spender?
Remember Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper? The grasshopper loved to have fun and sing all summer, laughing at the industrious ant gathering up food and preparing for the winter. Are you an ant who believes in emergency funds for those REAL emergencies? Events like work hours suddenly cut back at your job, traffic fines from hidden cameras, or the outrageous vet bill after your pet’s freak accident.
Or maybe, like the grasshopper, you feel lucky if you manage to keep even a portion of any savings. Depositing money in savings and then pulling it right back out again, because of a lack of any budget planning, is a hard cycle to break without conscious changes.
How about maxing out your retirement fund contributions at work? Do you believe in starting young and leveraging that compounding explosion over time? What explosion you say? Retirement is for the future. You’re a grasshopper. You’ll contribute later.
And now…How did the “Talk” go? Did you find a match, or a good starting point, concerning personal budgets, spending, debt and savings?
Judy Lawrence, M.S. Ed., is a Financial Counselor in Albuquerque, NM, founder of http://www.moneytracker.com/ and author of “The Budget Kit: Common 6th Ed“. Judy shares fundamental money management tools and concepts developed and gleaned from sitting at thousands of kitchen tables (physically and virtually) and guides couples toward healthy relationships with money. Allow Judy to help you understand, create and maintain a budget that works for you through her free one hour webinar and online e-course.