ASIC is encouraging couples to talk openly about their finances, citing research which indicates financial stress is one of the leading causes of failed relationships.
“Talking to your partner about money might not be the most romantic topic but it pays off in the long term for your relationship and finances.”
Research by Relationships Australia shows the four main reasons why relationships suffer are: financial stress, communication difficulties, different expectations and values, and lack of trust.
In the United States, couples argue on average three times a month about financial issues. More than half (55%) of adults living with a long-term partner do not set aside time on a regular basis to discuss their financial issues.
Lyn Fletcher, relationship expert from Relationships Australia, says many people find their discussions about money end in arguments, which can lead to avoidance or on-going difficulties in communicating about the subject.
‘It’s not just about money, but also what money represents – our way of life, our expectations and our dreams. Talking about money often goes to the heart of what we want out of life and this can make us feel a bit ‘touchy’ and vulnerable. Discussing your financial situation is really the ‘business end’ of relationships. Talking about it can’t be avoided forever.’
Fletcher says it’s helpful if couples can discuss money when they don’t feel pressured.
“Make a date to talk about your finances in the same way as you’d make a business appointment. Find a place where you both feel comfortable and allow enough time to talk and listen to each other. Make room for differences and sort out together how you handle money in your relationship.’
If you find yourself getting agitated or upset, Fletcher says to take time out until you both calm down.
“If you don’t ever seem to able to come to a satisfactory resolution, it might be time to seek practical, professional help.”