Money is what we struggle most about in the family, according to a survey by Dutch electronics company Philips. And conflicts around the economy are considered to be one of the most common causes of divorce. But does it really have to be that way?
Money is an important and sensitive subject, so it is no wonder that they easily give rise to quarrels. But there is much that can be done to reduce the risk of trouble and instead create financial balance in life. Here are my top tips:
Take the economy seriously
Money is perhaps not something you want to raise when you are new and start a relationship. But the economy is rarely a topic that resolves by itself. You need to discuss how you want it, listen to what is important to the other and find a way to manage the money that both are happy with.
There are many variations on how a couple or a family can organize the finances. Unfortunately, there is no universal solution that works for everyone. The important thing is that you agree on the model that suits you.
Shared economy can look different:
- If you do not live together, you may choose to have a fully shared economy, that is, everyone retains their income and pays for their own.
- If you live together, you probably have common expenses for housing etc and then it can be difficult to divide the economy completely. One variant is that you then add up the joint expenses and pay half each. It may work well if you have about the same amount of income, but if you earn a lot of income it may feel unfair to someone who does not have so much left for their own part when all the common money is paid.
- You can also choose to add up all common expenses and pay in proportion to what each person earns or pay all common expenses and then share equally what is left over.
The common economy means that the economy is also common for personal expenses. If you choose this solution, you need to agree on what the common money should go to and how much you want to save.
Make a budget and get an overview
Keeping track of money is a great help in reducing the risk of trouble. Look at how much you earn each month and where the money goes. On the Consumer Agency’s website you will find cost estimates and help to make a budget. There are also apps that help keep track of income and expenses, where Tink is an example.
Also agree on how much you want to save, whether you should have shared or shared savings and how much each one should contribute.
Take help from the outside
Do you find it difficult to agree? Does one of you want to put money on the money and the other to save and think long term? Does one feel unjustly treated? Take outside help instead of letting the disagreements go beyond the relationship.
An economic advisor can assist you in getting your money in order. If you see that the problems are really about something other than the economy, a family therapist can be helpful.