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Debt Confessions: How to Put an End to Money Conflicts

Is debt driving a wedge between you and your partner? Do you have a list of financial behaviours you’d like to change about your spouse?

59 per cent of Canadians in a recent BDO Canada poll revealed that they wish to change at least one of their partner’s financial habits. The three biggest pet peeves included overspending or not following a budget, not saving enough for long-term goals, and not keeping track of what they spend. But how many partners are aware that their behaviour might be causing relationship problems?

Canadians with debt are more likely to be hiding something

Our poll also found that Canadians who are in the most debt are more likely not to discuss their personal finances and tend to hide their credit card debt from their partners. They are also more likely to hide financial behavior such as overspending.

Since another study found that money conflicts can increase the rate of divorce by 45 per cent, both partners will want to open up the lines of communication and stop hiding their finances to help secure their marriage.

How to talk about money with your partner

When two people come together, it’s natural that their financial views may be different. You can use this to your advantage by drawing from one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and learning to compromise. Here are some tips:

  • Divide and conquer – One of you may be great at managing bills, the other might be a skilled bargain-hunter. Use your differences to your advantage by dividing financial tasks. This also makes sense when dividing bills. Check out Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s bill-splitting advice for couples.
  • Swap financial duties – You may develop a new appreciation for your partner if you switch up your responsibilities once in a while. This strategy can reduce conflict and help keep you both motivated to meet your goals.
  • Plan together – Plan for the unexpected by ensuring you’re putting enough into an emergency fund. In addition, plan long and short-term goals together such as a vacation, renovation or a night out. This module on the FCAC website can help you set financial goals.
  • Keep each other in the loop – Financial transparency will allow you to work together as a team, and save you from relationship trouble down the road. Together, identify areas where you have difficulty, such as overspending, and hold each other accountable. Create a budget that you both can follow so you’re always working toward the same goals.
  • Involve a third party – If money stress is putting a strain on your relationship, it’s time to call in some backup. Speak to a financial advisor or debt relief professional who can look at your situation from a different standpoint. Seeking debt help can take a huge weight off your shoulders.

Don’t let your debt load take a toll on your relationship. Find help before your debt turns into financial problems. Here are the warning signs to be aware of. It also doesn’t hurt to do an online financial health checkup together so you can target areas that need attention.

How do you and your partner resolve money conflicts? Share your thoughts with us via Twitter. #DebtConfessions #DebtSolutions #LoveAndMoney

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