Honey’s and Money: The low-down on relationships and money.

By Roshni Mulchandani

Myth: Money cannot be discussed in any relationship – marriage, live in or regular ones without arguments, fights and breakups.
Truth: Money should be discussed to keep your relationship from spending wrong and adding any drama.

Most of the time, it’s the dinero (or a lack of) that causes misunderstandings and downfalls in even the most happiest of relationships. It’s not just marriages that crumble under financial pressures, but live in relationships, and dating ones too can fall apart when a partner feels the weight of all that spending. More than often, petty arguments over money lead to sourness in relationships resulting in a lack of intimacy and inevitably break-ups. It also doesn’t help that most couples spend more time discussing money rather than love, intimacy and the future. Having the “money” conversation is nerve wracking but letting her know she is more than just your financial partner is the best way to ease her into the discussion. With troubling times dawning on us, we have some rules and tips to help keep those discussions from disrupting your cash and love flow.

The 3:1 Ratio
Whether she’s your wife or girlfriend, she wants to be wined and dined at the best restaurants. More than that, it is vital to keep the romance alive and kicking. Using the 3:1 ratio helps to maintain not only yours but her respect too. The rule is simple: for every three dates you pay for, she should pay for one. However, in keeping with the modern times, it should be rephrased to read – whoever makes more dough pays for three and the other pays for one. Ultimately, if you start this rule from the beginning of your relationship, money won’t ever be an issue in the future.

Bad Credit
When you and your girl are talking about the past – boyfriends, relationships et al, it’s important to also discuss any debts and bad credit you both may have. This is beyond essential as it may have a drastic effect on any decisions you make as a couple (buying that new condo or the latest BMW). There is no good time to discuss this topic but our advice is simple: the sooner, the better. It’s inevitable that she may be embarrassed about her financial state. Break it down nice and slow so she is comfortable knowing that you won’t burst into flames when she does admit it to you. And before you decide that you want to cut all strings with her, remember not everyone is great with money.

Big Decisions
Once you’ve made the decision to head on over to cohabitation-ville, take a minute to sit down and decide on a financial plan that caters to both your needs. The first step is to create an allowance which is completely up to your discrepancy – spend it how you want, no questions asked. Beyond that, assuming you share an account, every major decision should be discussed as a couple. Warning: turning up with that I Phone without her knowledge could result in drama. But we’re not just talking gadgets, household items such as washing machines, televisions and even vacuum cleaners demand “discussions.” It also may be a good idea to distinguish what is considered a major purchase versus a minor one as well as dollar limits on any items. That would mean that the PS3 you have your keen eye would need to be approved by the missus before play and if not… then try again next time!

Distribute Responsibilities
It’s pretty normal to nominate one partner (usually the men) as the check book signer and make them responsible for all financial matters. C’mon boys, it’s the twenty-first century – women want to be treated as equals so go ahead and delegate. Leaving all the liability to one person is simply not acceptable. Ensure that as a pair you decide how much moolah is going in and out of your account. Relationships are all about sharing – sharing is caring after all and this includes being considerate about each other’s monetary responsibilities.

Miscellaneous Expenditures
If you don’t have a common account, then we suggest you allocate a set amount of funds to a joint account that strictly for your entertainment, like the summer vacay you’ve been planning to Jamaica. Add restrictions and clauses to the account such as only allowing withdrawals if you both of you are present at the bank but allows you both to add to the account without restraint. Another important discussion point is to ensure you both of you are putting the same percentage from your paycheck into this account irrespective of your paycheck amount. Remember this account is strictly for your entertainment purposes…so add the dough and think of fab ways to spend it together!

Times are bad boys, and the faster you learn these tips, the better it will be for your bank account and more importantly your relationship. It is also better to have these discussions early in the relationship so when you come to landmarks in your love life such as moving in together, it’s not so hard to lay down the laws. Keeping your lines of communication open will help avoid confrontations and constant bickering over money issues. Being open enough to discuss money initially is the hardest part, but we promise it will only get easier and such issues will be as easy as breathing to you. Additionally, you won’t be spending unnecessary time arguing about the same dollar and cents but instead will have extra time to get some lovin’.

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