It’s well known (and unsurprising) that finances are the top cause of relationship issues. What is disturbing, is the sheer range of financial communication levels and styles between different couples and families.
Poor Communication means poor outcomes
Surprising numbers of people in committed relationships have a card or an account which their partner doesn’t know about. More disturbingly, in a recent study, almost half of respondents had no idea of their partner’s income – this indicates a shocking lack of communication about money. If you don’t know what your income is as a couple, how can you possibly make career plans, budget for purchases, or even begin to chart a course for financial success? Communication is key, and clearly we’re just not that good at it yet. Lying (and even miscommunicating) about finances is sometimes labelled financial infidelity.
Insecurity Vs Infidelity
Financial Infidelity is a buzzword, making headlines everywhere from Forbes to Lifehacker. According to these headlines, it will “ruin relationships”, It’s “corrosive to trust and creates distance”, and it’s “one of the most dangerous things that can happen in a marriage”. Scary stuff. We need a balance between fear of infidelity, and fear of insecurity . As Dr. David Ley puts it, financial infidelity is “the latest scare tactic to keep you constantly on the edge of your seat with fear that your partner has betrayed you”. It’s a compelling sales pitch: “there is an insidiousness to the insecurity Industry that is troubling and frightening. The number one sneaky cognition that they foster? That you and your partner should have no secrets from each other. If you do, your marriage is doomed”. Dr. Ley continues, “I’m all for close, supportive, partnerships between people, where there is an openness of communication… should couples talk about financial agreements? Absolutely. Should they expect each other to communicate about them? Yep.” Should they keep their finances intimately entwined to have a great relationship, not necessarily. Communication, Communication, Communication.
Solid Foundations – Adult Approaches to Trust
The loaded term “financial infidelity”, according to Dr. Ley, conflates secrets with betrayal, infantilising your approach to your romantic and financial relationship between couples. Instead, you should recognise that “your partner is an independent person, with separate needs, thoughts, fears, behaviours and feelings, and yet they still choose, every day, to share their life with you”. In practical terms that means accepting that agreeing to include independent financial arrangements is one possible outcome when you discuss your financial plans as a couple.
Plan, to beat Insecurity!
Insecurity isn’t created in a vacuum by finance blogs (though we hope to dispel some here of course)! Insecurity exists primarily because you don’t have a plan for real security (financial freedom). The first step in dealing with insecurity is to have that all-important money talk with your partner to ensure your goals and financial vision are aligned. Regardless of whether you plan to share your finances or keep them separated but share the expenses Bill Butler can help you literally every step of the way, from setting goals to automating your financial freedom plan. So beat the insecurity, and (if you haven’t already) plan with your partner, then talk to us to get your finances tracking towards success in a shared way!
Jay Stephens – Lead Thought Provoker
Jay began his career in London with Rabobank, CLS bank and a Lloyd’s of London syndicate. Jay’s work has spanned corporate communications, content editing, newspaper articles, courseware, blogging, policy drafting, technical writing, and a regular crossword. He is passionate about 8-bit tunes, self-improvement, and the Oxford comma.