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Couples Therapy: Are you a financially sound within your relationship?

You may be the most ardent, practical and sane person as it relates to money, budgeting and saving. But, what about your fiancé or spouse? Are they on the same page as you as it relates to money or are you constantly butting heads when it comes to how you spend and save?

The question might seem obvious; of course you are engaged, married to or made a commitment to someone that feels the same about money as you, right? Perhaps, but money can be a difficult topic to discuss even if you’re comfortable in your relationship to the point that you’re either planning to marry or already have tied the knot.

But have you also roped yourself into a relationship where your feelings on money are completely different?

How to tell if you’re in a smart, money saving relationship isn’t difficult as long as you know what to look for, beyond the obvious. That would include you putting your paycheck in the bank every two weeks only to have your significant other withdraw a few hundred dollars to go shopping even though bills are due and money needs to be saved. That isn’t hard to figure out what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Couples who have their financial future down pat make it a point to schedule a time to review their bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement fund and where exactly their money is going. Budgeting also is paramount to the process. They don’t just budget once, but rather review how the money is coming and going every month.

Furthermore, paying bills and managing money has to be something that you do together. Most families have that one person who is assigned to paying bills and monitoring how everything is spent. That mentality only serves to make one person completely oblivious and the burden and stress on the other. The latter person often tries as hard as possible to do their best but if they get into trouble they end up falling further behind because they don’t want to mention that they’ve failed at budgeting.

And if you’re inclined to budget together, kudos to you and your spouse, but be sure that aren’t setting yourself up for failure on a number of levels. Make sure you set expectations as far as saving goes that are realistic and don’t be afraid to spend money together, either (within reason). Being too strict with money is only going to lead to resentment.

Couples who play together not only stay together but end up spending properly and saving even better.


Debt Denial: Do you have too much debt and not even realize it?

Denial is a powerful emotion as it relates to money, and specifically, credit card debt.

Admitting you’re too far in debt isn’t something that most can do easily. However once the realization hits, most believe excessive debt to be a moral shortcoming.

What do you mean you’re filing for bankruptcy? What did you do? Why didn’t you see this coming?

All of those questions are to be expected when you’re confronted by a friend or family member as it relates to your debt and why you weren’t more aware of what you did. That’s where the denial part comes into play, among other issues you may have a long history of having too much credit card debt and really not realizing it.

If you find yourself using your credit cards a lot, chances are you have an issue.

In addition to denial, you can add obliviousness to the attributes that define people who have no clue that they’re in credit card debt. Quick: what is the balance on your Visa credit card? If you don’t know the answer or have little idea as to that dollar figure, you should be concerned. Most who manage debt effectively know what they owe, the monthly payment that is expected and exactly how much they can afford to pay over and above that.

If you aren’t sure and find yourself scrambling on the due date to get a payment processed online or over the phone, that indicates a lack of organization that is going to lead to missed or late payments, which are sure fire ways to crush your credit score.

Another easy barometer to determine if debt is getting the better of you is your defiance to stop using your card or having at least one credit card that has hit its limit. Your debt to income ratio isn’t going to appreciate that, and creditors aren’t likely to view you as a safe borrower if you have multiple cards that have hit their ceiling.

One strategy is to cut up credit cards that have hit their limit. Some people use those same maxed out cards even after they’ve hit their limit, knowing that creditors give you a little wiggle room with that limit amount.

Don't be a credit card abuser. If you have a problem, admit it, and take steps to get your spending habits back in check.


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