Debt Confessions: How to Come Clean About Your Money HabitsFeb 12, 2018
Do you ever tell little white lies when it comes to debt or spending? According to a new poll, you’re not alone! The biggest money secret between couples is credit card debt. Instead of masking the issue, why not come clean so you can work toward financial goals together?
Canadian couples’ confessions
When it comes to money, 59 per cent of Canadian couples confessed they wanted to change at least one of their partner’s financial habits. Poll results show that the top three irritating money habits of their partners are:
- Overspending or not following a budget
- Not saving enough for long-term goals
- Not keeping track of spending
Despite these findings, 36 per cent of Canadian couples rarely or never discuss finances. Unfortunately, those with the most debt are the most likely to say they never talk about finances with their partner.
How to come clean and move forward together
Does the thought of coming clean about your money habits with your partner fill you with terror? While many relationships do dissolve due to financial problems, it’s always better to lay your cards out and be open and honest about your spending habits. From there, the two of you can come up with a solid plan to turn things around. Here are some tips:
- Make it a date – Enjoy a dinner together and set some time aside to discuss your finances. The benefit of doing this in a public place is that you’ll both be on your best behaviour. Both of you should be prepared to come clean about your debts so that you can form a plan of action.
- Budget together – Budgeting can be a team-building exercise, because it can strengthen your financial literacy and allow you to meet more financial goals together. You’ll want to figure out how much you spend as a couple, and set comfortable limits on each spending category.
- Talk about your options – As a couple, discuss your debt repayment plans. You can look at your options using online tools or speak to a debt professional who can help explain your options to you. You may both be paying off previous debts from before your relationship, or maybe you’re paying down debts you’ve incurred together. Come up with a plan to find the best solution that works for you.
- Combine your efforts – Some couples are opposed to joint accounts, but there are other ways to combine your debt repayment and savings. Based on your budget, come up with how much each of you can contribute to your goals each month. You may want to consider setting up a joint savings account and automating your payments into it.
- Review long and short-term goals regularly — Check in with each other often so you can revise your strategies or discuss new goals. Set SMART goals that are flexible, and don’t forget to plan for the unexpected.
Don’t let debt derail your financial goals or disrupt your relationship. Set aside regular time to discuss finances as a couple, or as a family. By planning together, you’ll be more likely to meet your goals sooner and motivate each other along the way. And, if you’re struggling, take a look at debt relief options earlier than later, so you can avoid further financial trouble.
If you’re looking for some financial inspiration, follow Krystal Yee’s blog, Give Me Back My 5 Bucks.