It is that time of year – red roses, chocolate hearts and dinners by candlelight. Ah, the month of February (sigh). Nothing in the world can come between you and your Valentine, right? Not necessarily. These days more and more romantic relationships are on the edge because of debt’s sly interference. Relationships need constant attention and care. And when ignored, debt can easily come between you and your partner causing conflict and arguments. It can, and has, lead to the end of many relationships.
Debt can test and hurt your relationship through the following:
- Overspending by a partner – buying more than what the couple can afford.
- A partner being declared bankrupt – for partners who are married in Community of Property, for example, this can have major consequences.
- Putting your loved one’s savings in harm’s way – by partners having access to each other’s accounts or by having a communal account.
- A lack of communication – by having conflicting views on money or finance management.
- One or both partners not taking on any responsibility – having no budget or emergency fund because it is just spend, spend, spend.
- Delaying a wedding or having kids – your debt pile is adding up and one partner puts on breaks to clear debt first, while the other desperately wants to continue with life’s major cycles.
Although these possible cases do not give you even the slightest fuzziest of feelings, you should not be discouraged. There are things that you can do to overcome your debt-caused relationship problem/s. Here are five relationship debt-survival tips:
Budget, budget, budget
If, by now, you still don’t have a budget, get on it. And if you are not sure where to begin, download DebtSafe’s free template online. This can assist you in structuring your own personal budget plan. A budget gives you clarity on what your finances look like and it also sets up a sense of responsibility on the consumer’s part to stick to it. You can also have a look at your bank statement at the end of each month to see where you can improve your cash flow and where you can cut back on certain unnecessary expenses.
Become more independent
It is not the ideal situation if you and your partner only have a joint bank account. He says it can happen that one partner gets a bit carried away and may take advantage of the situation. Although it is not always the case – it can happen.
Don’t hesitate, COMMUNICATE
Communication is the key to finding the balance between two people’s different worlds or perspectives. Communication involves words, listening skills and action. By communicating about your finances, you can stand in your partner’s shoes and see things from his or her point of view. It also encourages compromising from both parties (when choices need to be made). This is not necessarily a bad thing, it also brings couples together and makes the relationship stronger.
If you have let your debt spiral out of control, admit it. There are various ways to get the right assistance that you need. Go and talk to a Financial Planner and do some homework to take on a new journey with your preferred debt counsellor.
If you can – SAVE
It is always wise to have an emergency fund tucked away. Other professionals say that three to six times your salary should be put away. The six months sounds a bit hectic but it is worth a try to start saving around every corner. By getting unnecessary spending leaks out of your way (like that extra cup of coffee each day) and by keeping an eye on your budget, you can slowly start better financial habits. Remember it is always better to start saving sooner rather than later.
February is the month of love and romance. Don’t let your Valentine get away by allowing debt to have any effect on your relationship. Get rid of the silent culprit in your relationship once and for all. Shove debt out of the way with the above debt-survival guidelines.