Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Why your partner’s financial habits matter

Understanding your partner’s financial habits and goals is essential for the success of a relationship.

You can be in love, but when your financial goals are not the same as your partner’s, acrimony quickly slips in the door and then your relationship will stop being so fantastic while you lay awake at night worrying about money.

Money is one of the leading causes of stress in relationships and being on the same page financially will not only give your relationship a better chance of success, but also improve your ability to reach your financial goals, says Stian De Witt, CFP, executive head of financial planning at NMG Benefits.

To do this, it is vital that you start by understanding each other’s financial habits and attitudes to money, he says. “If one partner is a saver and the other a spender, there may be conflict when it comes to financial decisions. Understanding each other’s financial habits and values can help you both work towards common financial goals.”

Money affects many of the major choices you and your partner will make. “Will you buy a house and where? Where do you want to send your children to school? Which cars do you want to buy? When do you want to retire?

“By setting aligned and common financial goals, defining individual responsibilities and establishing a budget, couples can build a foundation for their relationship and financial success,” says De Witt.

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Foundation for financial stability

Planning is essential to any relationship and this includes determining how income is managed, how expenses are shared and who is responsible for which financial tasks. When both partners feel that their interests are considered, there is also less chance of resentment and feelings of inequality, De Witt says.

Shared goals and aspirations

A critical aspect of financial planning in a relationship is to identify and prioritise a set of mutual goals. Whether it is saving for a dream holiday, buying a house, retirement planning or planning for the growth of your family, having a plan helps channel resources toward these goals. This encourages open communication around your needs and expectations, which is essential for a healthy relationship, he says.

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Transparency and trust are important

“Being open and honest about your financial situation helps to build trust between partners. Financial infidelity, where one partner hides financial decisions or activities from the other, can severely damage trust in a relationship,” De Witt says. By planning together, you are more likely to be aware of each other’s financial actions.

Support during life’s transitions

Financial planning takes constant communication, De Witt advises. You must regularly review your goals, track your progress and discuss new priorities, depending on where you are in your lives. This shared responsibility brings partners closer as they work as a team to achieve their aspirations.

“Money affects so many aspects of our daily lives and by discussing and understanding each other’s financial habits and values, you can work together towards common financial goals and ensure the success of your relationship at the same time,” De Witt says.

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