Teamwork for financial health

Here in the Cayman Islands, we may
not stress about direct taxation, but we can still have stress over our
finances.  At every income level there
can be disagreements over money, and it is usually one of the major sources of
conflict for couples. 

Healthy finances allow basic needs
to be met, such as food, shelter, water, electricity, etc. 

In addition, healthy finances in a
relationship mean that the couple is able to manage their money wisely, cope
with adversity and make joint decisions on their finances. Couples experience
more conflicts at times of financial difficulties, as stress levels increase,
than when they are in a healthy financial state.

In many relationships, financial
health is often avoided, and it remains the world’s number one reason for
relationship failures.  Differences in
values, goals and habits of partners in a relationship can create a stressful
environment, which can lead to additional problems. For example, going for a
drink in the evening is seen as a valuable stress-free time for one person in a
relationship, while the other may view it as a wasteful habit, which can cause
conflicts in a relationship. 

Individual concerns and
insecurities about money can easily be projected onto little things, such as
how the money is spent at the supermarket to going out for dinner, which can
cause resentment in a relationship. By learning how to talk about money and how
to align their financial goals, couples can lower financial stress in a relationship. 

 

Communicate

Talking about finances can be
uncomfortable, but it is important for a couple to discuss their views and
values on savings, spending, bills and budgeting. Disclose as much as you are
comfortable with to each other about your finances and discuss your future
dreams and aspirations. Start by having small conversations during your leisure
time. Don’t try to fit it in on the way to work or when you both come home and
are exhausted.

 

Plan together

Discuss your common financial goals
and write down all the steps necessary to meet them. Take into account both
incomes, debts, savings, how much to contribute towards savings, what to cut
back on and setting a time frame to meet the financial goals. Agree to work
together, talk through things and understand that it is not about being right
or wrong.  This will enrich your partnership
and allow both of you to feel like you are a team.

 

Set regular financial meetings

Take this time to review your
accounts, your spending plan, budget for upcoming weeks, identify problem
areas, reassess your goals, and of course stay open and honest about your
finances.  The main thing is to work
together as a team and encourage each other to become financially healthy.

 

Things change

Financial concerns can change
overnight, so it is very important for you and your partner to continue talking
about your thoughts and concerns regularly. 
Continue to be aware of each other’s desires and goals – from taking
vacation, or buying a home, to having children. 
Take time to discuss the “what ifs.”  
What if you or your partner becomes unemployed?   What if you want to go back to school?   What if your partner gets a job in another
country?   How would you and your partner
deal with your finances, which pertain to these situations or similar
ones? 

 

Discuss tough topics

Talking about finances can be a
tough topic, therefore it best to set a time when you both are free and are
able to focus on the discussion.  Don’t
start the discussion when the game is on or when there are other distractions
around you.  Bring your concerns to the
table and allow each other to talk and listen with an open mind.  It is important to stay calm and untangle
your emotions from your financial issues so that your concerns can be addressed
objectively.

 

To arrange a confidential
appointment with an EAP counsellor, please contact 949-9559 or [email protected]

Features

Healthy finances in a relationship mean that the couple is able to manage their money wisely and make joint decisions.
Photo: File

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