You and your partner could be the next Romeo and Juliet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have any fights. In fact, it’s healthy to have a fight every once in awhile. If you’re fighting with your significant other about money, you’re doing something right. Why? Well, because money is one of the most important things out there. And it’s something that you and your partner should both have an equal say in — especially if you live together, or decide to combine bank accounts.
There are two different types of people out there — spenders and savers. Both have their strengths, and both have their weaknesses. Typically, these types balance each other out. It could be dangerous to have two spenders get together (especially if shopping is therapeutic) and while saving is an incredible skill, two savers could miss out on a lot of life opportunities by pinching pennies.
There’s no one “right” or “correct” way to handle your own finances — only you can figure out the best way to pay the bills on time.
That said, here are a few common fights about finances that are totally normal in any healthy relationship.
1One of you wants to blow a bonus on a huge vacation, the other wants to put it in savings for a rainy day.
Congratulations! You worked hard enough to earn yourself a sweet bonus. These things don’t happen often, so might as well go crazy, right? Well, maybe not. Your savings are a bit meager, and you’ve been thinking about going back to school someday. That money should probably be thrown in the bank and forgotten about.
While having an emergency fund is one of the smartest things to do, you also need to take some time for yourself. So if you haven’t had a vacation in five years? Plan something fun. If you really don’t need one, or feel happiest with a weekend trip to the beach? Put it in the bank. Worst case scenario, split it 50/50 — that way you can splurge a little bit without a bunch of regret.
2He spends money he doesn’t have at that exact moment.
You’re with a guy who just got a new job — and the starting pay is 75k. Not too shabby, right? It’s definitely a steo forward. So in his eyes, the best way to celebrate is to upgrade his whole life. New suits, new car, and apps and desserts at every dinner out!
The problem is, he doesn’t have the money yet — it’ll be at least two weeks. And with taxes, he might be overestimating how much he’ll actually see. If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck, this is a big deal. It’s kind of hard to put the brakes on someone else’s spending, but a kind reminder might be the best way to get them to slow down a bit. Remind him that there are ways to celebrate that don’t require blowing your cash before the direct deposit has even been set up.
3Your partner simply isn’t interested in creating a budget.
Dating a spender? We feel you. Sometimes people spontaneously buy expensive products because they feel like “they deserve it.” They deserve it because they had a bad day at work. They deserve it because they had a good day at work. Or they deserve it since heck, they’re just one swell individual. These purchases add up and can create a big problem.
Nobody loves creating a budget, but it’s necessary for every relationship that has shared finances (or, will someday have shared finances — since you don’t want to take on debt.) You need to sit them down and get real. If you’re having issues with it as well, bringing someone in to mediate will be the best purchase you can make to rectify the situation.
4Your partner doesn’t understand the importance of a bank account.
If your partner reminds you a little bit of Nick Miller from New Girl, have no fear — you’re not alone. If he or she didn’t learn how to use a bank account early on, they might just have a box of money and a box of bills that both just collect dust.
Having a bank account is all a part of adulthood. Go to your favorite bank branch with them and try your hardest to make them see that it’s not a huge deal. In fact, it’s the safest place their money can be.
5Your partner is still depending on their parents to pay the bills.
Every one in awhile, we all need a little help from mom and dad. And it’s nice that they offer to slip us a $20 every once in awhile. But if your partner is still depending on the folks to pay all the big bills — like rent, phone, cable, internet, and utilities — you’ve got a problem. They’re literally setting themselves up to fail.
If they depend on their parents a little too hard, it’s time to have a conversation. Try to break him or her free.
6He’s upset since he’s not the top earner.
It sounds stupid, right? Especially in 2017. But if you’re making bank, and he’s struggling to get by, that can greatly affect his ego.
The truth is, money will never be exactly equal. If he’s feeling bad about not being a top earner, make sure he’s got other responsibilities to take over to balance the scales. Or, if he’s miserable over his job (and can be making way more) encourage him to apply someplace different. All in all, his happiness and mental health should be more important than his paycheck, but a rise in both never hurt.
7You’re super tired of the debt he or she accumulated.
His or her debt is totally stalling all of your future plans together. It seems like no matter what, your significant other doesn’t realize that the slow crawl of paying back bills is why the two of you can’t move in together, or have even a very small wedding. This is a big one, since it also might be a sign that your priorities aren’t aligned.
Again, honesty — and a good, non-judgmental chat about how this all makes you feel — is best. There’s likely a better way for your partner to pay back their student debt while also prepping for the future. Work out a timeline so that he or she can gain a little bit more control over their earnings.
8You’re ready to have kids (and understand that there’s a clock ticking.) He thinks you can’t afford them — yet.
No doubt about it, kids are expensive. In 2014, The Huffington Post claimed that the cost of raising a child was around $12,800 – $14,970 per year. That’s not chump change.
If money is truly the only holdout, you have to view it this way — right now, can the two of you manage raising a baby? Are you both employed (or, does one of you earn enough so that the other could stay home?) Don’t think about college or a wedding fund right now. It’s hard to predict whether or not you’ll be financially stable for 18 consecutive years in the future.
Obviously you want to make the right call, but sometimes people just never feel “ready.” Having a support system, a solid employment or educational history, room in your home, and a strong desire to be a parent can often be the best indicators in making a big decision like this.