Finding Balance Between Money & Personal Relationships

by The Smarter Wallet on May 25, 2010

This guest post is by

Romantic relationships are centered on emotions. Love, anger, joy, optimism, fear and trust are the guiding forces behind them. In a typical courtship, critical decisions are made amidst a sea of emotions.

As we all know, emotions and money are like oil and water. They just don’t mix.

money & personal relationships

Finding Balance Between Money & Personal Relationships

Few things in life are as black and white as financial transactions. This is completely contradictory to the emotional nature of relationships. Use the following 3 steps to defeat this contradiction.

#1 Set a Recurring Financial Meeting With An Agenda

WARNING: This will hurt, and if your finances are jacked up, it will be torture. The absolute best way to avoid financial troubles is to place the numbers under a microscope on a recurring basis.

No item is too large or small for scrutiny. Small ticket buys (parking, dinner dates, bowling) and big ticket items (rent, car payment, internet/tv, groceries) should not be surprises to either party.

Treat your financial meeting like the life altering business meeting it is. Your family budget, meeting time, meeting location, and agenda are non-negotiable. Do not create distractions (gym, work, movies, etc) to avoid the meeting. Ruthlessly correct any issues that occur.

#2 Have a Voice

It is very tempting to relinquish financial control to your significant other. After all, your hubby/lady is smart, financially astute, and they can be trusted to work in the best interest of your relationship.

But there are a few problems with this approach.

  • Your Partner is Human – People make mistakes. Your partner could make an innocent mistake in taxes, bill paying, or account settling that takes years to fix.
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – A lack of respect is hard to overcome in a relationship and it is incredibly hard to respect a person who is clueless with respect to their finances. Honestly, an adult who does not handle their finances may as well be a child.
  • Hidden Problems – Financial issues quickly spiral out of control when there is no system of checks and balances (see the real estate crash for proof). If your partner has complete control of the finances then you could be in a horrible financial position and never know it.
  • Address Issues Directly – Be direct. Don’t beat around the bush about the mistakes made by yourself or your partner. Addressing issues directly is the best path to issue resolution and improvement.

#3 Remove Your Emotions

As I stated before, relationships are emotional in nature. Money is not. The following forms of payment are not accepted at most US retailers:

  • Love
  • Hugs
  • Understanding
  • Intentions
  • Trust

If you follow any of the advice in this article, then you must understand one thing. Feelings will get hurt. It is completely unavoidable. You will challenge your mate. Your mate will challenge you. You will have to defend frivolous purchases. Your mate will shed tears. You will slam a door in anger. Your mate will blow you off a few times.

This is all part of the process. As you and your mate become more comfortable with the process, your emotions will subside. You will see how your constant measuring, budgeting, and system of accountability have strengthened your relationship and financial standing. This will far outweigh any emotions that you are dealing with.


Money can make or break a relationship. A good number of couples refuse to pay attention to their money until it is too late. Falling into this trap can lead to a myriad of easily avoidable negative situations.

Follow these 3 steps and you will be fine:

1) Set a Recurring Financial Meeting with an Agenda
2) Have A Voice
3) Remove Your Emotions

Follow this advice and blaze a trail to financial relationship bliss!

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