First Comes Love, Then Comes Money

We may agree to love each other for richer and for poorer, but the reality of debt can quickly spoil a relationship and put unnecessary strain on your life together. In fact, money is one of the main reasons any couple fights, and is a leading cause of marital trouble Canada (The Vanier Institute- Divorce: Facts, Causes & Consequences).

According to an Ipsos–Reid survey, released last week 20 per cent of Canadians who are married or in common-law partnerships say their relationship problems are due to their current debt situations; And the younger the couple, the more dire the circumstances. The same survey found that debt has a significantly larger impact on younger couples, with 41 per cent indicating that financial stress has left a negative impact on their relationship.

So how do you work together to address your debt and prevent it from causing strain in your relationship?

  1. Be honest about your debt – Couples should communicate with each other and be honest about debt. By sitting down together and calmly discussing your finances, including all of your debt, you can assess where you are financially.
  2. Create a plan to manage joint finances – The money talk should also include full disclosure of your incomes, spending habits and individual payment plans. Once you each understand the others relationship with money, you can discuss if and how you will pool your finances.
  3. Plan to repay debt – When it comes to repaying debt, it is important for the two of you to be on the same page. Once you understand the importance of getting out of debt, create a payment plan that will allow you both to pay off your debts as quickly and affordably as possible. You may wish to consider using a debt consolidation option to make repayment easier.
  4. Find mutual ground – When it comes to money, very few couples agree on every aspect of their finances. Have an open conversation about your financial obligations and your financial dreams. Once you find common ground, together you can start creating a plan for your financial future.
  5. Set goals – You cannot effectively eliminate debt or plan for the future without setting goals. Once you have discussed your debt, and agreed upon a payment plan, write everything down and keep track of it. By writing down your debt repayment goals, you can work together to eliminate debt and avoid future arguments about money.