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A relationship is 10 times more likely to end if one partner thinks the other has poor money habits, according to a recent Policygenius survey. The survey also revealed that money problems are the main reason for more than half of divorces. The statistics are sobering, but also support the idea that even if your finances are totally separate, it is better to play open cards and have shared goals you are both working towards as a couple, together.

Finances can be a very sensitive topic, so it’s important to consider the emotional impact of different habits and views between you and your partner, says Farzana Botha, Product Specialist at Sanlam Savings. “Good money management is about much more than just coming up with a set of agreed guidelines for your relationship. Couples who talk openly about their finances often find it easier to reach long-term goals such as saving for a home or holiday,” she says. “Your lifestyle aspirations and the dreams you have for your children and family can best be achieved when you are aligned on where you are heading. Be clear on what you are saving for, and agree and/or get help when deciding on how much you will need to put aside. Then decide how each of you can contribute towards your savings goals,” she adds.

Life and Relationship Coach, Leah Sefor, says that if you want to create a successful, sustainable future together, there needs to be transparency when it comes to your finances. Here are her tips for discussing financial priorities, goals, expenses and spending.

Uncover your ‘money story’ with your partner

When partners share their ‘money story’ it can be extremely insightful. Understanding entrenched childhood belief systems where money is involved can change the way you react to undesirable money behaviours. This helps you both to be more empathetic with each other instead of defaulting to attack mode.

Budget together

Prioritise making clear financial plans and budgeting together so both your goals can be met. Discuss income and expenses and come up with a plan you are both comfortable with for how you will manage finances together.

“Discuss income and expenses and come up with a plan you are both comfortable with for how you will manage finances together,” recommends Leah Sefor, Life and Relationship Coach.

Come clean about debt

Let your partner know what your debt situation is early on in a long-term relationship, because it is very likely to impact them down the road. To avoid embarrassment, create a safe space for honest conversations to happen, and do your best to be constructive in these discussions. Choose a supportive approach when discussing how to overcome debt and move towards a healthier money picture that serves you both.

Know your worth

Your worth in a relationship is not determined by how much money you earn. If one partner earns less or is unemployed, they need to understand the significant value they bring to the relationship by helping in practical ways such as managing the home, the household shopping, the kids, social arrangements and organising the family’s life.

Appoint a family CFO

Whoever is better at handling money should be the chief financial officer (CFO) of your relationship, suggests Sefor. We are all good at different things, and there is a difference between controlling the money and managing the money. The CFO’s job is to manage the money to the benefit of both partners and the relationship.



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