Times are tough. COVID-19 has wrecked economies around the world. Reports from June 2020 show that up to 30 million Americans are unemployed. I don’t want to make you too upset, but things could get tougher depending on how carefully states reopen their economies.
If there was ever a time to take steps to improve the financial wellness in your partnership, it’s now. No matter where the economy heads, getting better at handling life and still staying productive will make your relationship better.
Get Honest With Each Other – Financial Infidelity IS Infidelity
Any type of infidelity can ruin relationships. That includes financial infidelity, such as opening secret credit card accounts to hide your spending. Given enough time, any kind of lie can choke your relationship to death.
If you or your partner have any financial secrets, bring them to light now. You need to disclose everything, including:
- Credit card debt
- Student loan debt
- Vehicle loans
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
I find it’s best for both people to print paper copies of their accounts. Then, schedule time to sit down and review the documents. You need total transparency.
Do the Hard Work of Making a Budget
About 70% of American households say that they follow a budget. That’s great news! It does, however, mean that 30% of households don’t really know how they spend their money. And that’s a big problem.
If you don’t follow a budget, it’s time to get to work. You can start by:
- Determining how much money your household makes.
- Tracking your current spending for a week.
- Picking a few financial goals (savings for retirement, college tuition, paying off debt, etc.).
Once you have these numbers, you can make a budget that puts you on track to meeting those goals.
Most people have expenses that they can’t avoid. You probably have to pay a mortgage or rent every month, for example. Since you can’t do much to change those numbers, they will stay in your budget.
You also have spending that you probably don’t even think about until you start tracking your habits. Going out to lunch on workdays gets expensive quickly! Did you realize that you were still paying for that music streaming service you never use? If you need to cut expenses from your budget, start with these items.
Do the Harder Work of Following Your Budget
Now, you need to follow the budget that you and your partner made. If you’ve never followed a budget before, you will need to adjust your habits. It takes time, and you will not like making the changes.
Financial wellness in a partnership takes effort, so you need to put in the hard work to meet your goals.
Trust me. Following a budget gets easier! Especially when you see that you’re reaching those goals!
Repeat the Process a Few Times a Year
Budgets should change over time, so repeat this process a few times a year. It’s most important to review your budget when your finances change. Make sure you revisit your plan when your income or expenses change.
Did your adult daughter just move into her first apartment? You will probably see your utilities go down. Did you get a raise at work? Now you have a bigger household income!
No one knows what the future will bring, so it makes sense to create a plan and stick to it. Following through means that you’ll have better control of your finances and your relationship will have more opportunities to thrive.