The start of a new year is often a time when you set out with firm intentions to improve your life.
If you’re planning to do more exercise and improve your fitness, you aren’t alone. A YouGov survey found that those two activities topped the list for more than half of Britons (53%) who intend to make a resolution for 2023. Likewise, 43% say they plan to lose weight and the same proportion are resolving to improve their diet.
It’s also common to make financial resolutions for the new year, such as to clear your credit card debts, or to save more money each month.
But if you’re in a partnership and not planning your financial future with your spouse or partner, you can hinder your chances of long-term success, regardless of the new year resolutions you make.
Read about some of the common problems you could face if you aren’t planning as a couple.
1. Your long-term aims may be incompatible
In any partnership, it’s common for one person to take the lead in certain aspects of your joint living. This can range from the serious – one of you being the main household breadwinner, for example – to the more mundane such as the weekly shopping, and where you go on holiday.
The same may well apply when it comes to planning your finances. But here it can be important that, even if one of you is taking the lead, your long-term goals are aligned.
If you realise they aren’t compatible, you’ll need to take steps to manage this in the interests of both of you, rather than just one of you doing what you want.
There’s no reason why a good financial plan can’t fulfil the hopes of both of you. The key thing is for you both to be ultimately happy with the final outcome.
2. One person doing all the financial planning can be stressful
There is no reason why one of you shouldn’t take the lead when it comes to managing your finances.
It may be that your partner may have a better aptitude for managing money than you. Alternatively, you may have more time available to devote to dealing with your household accounts, or you may just be better organised.
The key factor is for both of you to have a keen awareness of the stress that having that responsibility can cause. It’s all too easy for problems to become demanding and draining, with the temptation to think that it’s down to you to sort them out alone.
So, even if one of you is managing the money, both of you should be aware of the ongoing situation. Not sharing problems as they arise can lead to conflict and worry.
3. The problem of financial infidelity
Much like marital infidelity, being dishonest about money issues can place a severe strain on a partnership.
If one of you is being dishonest about spending or debt, or how you’re managing your assets, it can harm your financial position and spill over into other aspects of your relationship.
Often financial infidelity can be prompted by a specific problem or some adverse news, meaning one indiscretion can snowball into a much bigger, and potentially insurmountable, issue.
4. Excessive control can cause resentment
While one person assuming responsibility for managing your joint finances can be a positive move, it’s important that whoever does this in your household remains cognisant of the feelings of the other person.
It can be frustrating to be put on a strict budget for example, which is why discussion around issues like this need to be handled with care and respect for each other’s sensitivities.
Likewise, if you’re ignoring agreed limits and spending money with no respect for your long-term financial situation, it’s bound to create stress and disagreement. It could also blow your plans off course.
5. Small problems can easily escalate into major ones
If both of you aren’t fully aware of your financial position and longer-term objectives, minor issues can easily escalate to where they can cause serious harm.
You and your partner should be setting goals and working together. It doesn’t need to become regimented and a chore that can fuel further resentment. But it’s important to have regular conversations, especially if you are faced with particular challenges or big changes in your lives.
If you aren’t setting goals and working together, you may well be storing up trouble for the future.
6. You reduce your chances of long-term financial success
Finally, if you both want to enjoy a healthy financial future, you need to agree on what that future looks like and how you’re going to work towards it.
If you aren’t planning as a couple, and making strategic financial decisions that you’re both happy with, it becomes less likely that you’ll both be able to fulfil your goals.
It’s possible that you may need to make some financial sacrifices in order to arrive at an outcome that suits you both. That becomes far more difficult than it would otherwise be if you both aren’t fully invested in your plan.
Get in touch
If you’d like to talk about how to build a financial plan as a couple, or any other financial issues, then please get in touch.
You can call me on 07769 156 250.
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