Perhaps the only things in life that can rival the anxiety-producing effects of a relationship are money and finances. Money and finances in a relationship can cause a couple to worry and to have anxiety for their future.
Combining both of these essential avenues in life, relationships and finances, can be a scary thought, but one that can be made more manageable with the right methods and the right attitude.
Communication & Budgeting
To have a successful financial future, you and your partner should focus on:
- Communicating your financial expectations
- A commitment to budget, save, and invest
A relationship is built on trust, and it is important to be honest and open about the way you handle your finances. If you don’t want to be transparent about this, there will be friction. There will also be differences in the ways in which you’d like to spend money. Try to approach these issues with common goals in mind. Your budget may need some flexibility. One important strategy you should have as a couple is to evaluate your finances in the first week of every month together. You should have a list of all the dates of scheduled bill payments as well as a budget for entertainment and leisure. If you ask a military family therapist, they will claim that the majority of the cases they take on are because of miscommunication between two partners on the subject of money. If you and your partner have the ability to save money and budget your income, you will be far happier than those who spend more than they earn and are careless with their finances.
It is important to have a savings account and to add to it on a regular basis. Placing your money into a savings account is great for two reasons: you will be less likely to spend the money and you will actually earn money from interest on top of it while it sits in the savings account. A great savings plan to implement, as a couple, is to have 10% of your combined income be redirected into a family savings account automatically. If you could do a combined 20%, that is obviously even better.
This savings account should be completely different from you or your partner’s personal accounts. This should not be an account that only one person has transactions with. Both individuals should figure what percentage of their income they feel comfortable with placing into the savings account and both individuals should have a debit card to the account in the event of an emergency. If you wish, this savings account doesn’t have to be just for emergencies. You and your partner may choose a suitable goal to start a new savings account, such as a family vacation. Saving money should be a part of your lifestyle, and organizing it as well as possible will allow you and your family to be in the best financial position possible for your future.
You and your partner probably have certain traditions or activities that you do on a regular basis, such as walking the dogs in the afternoon, morning coffee, etc. It is a good idea to incorporate a tradition or regular schedule of evaluating your financial accounts and determining if your banking options continue to be in alignment with each of your goals.
Balancing Finances with your Family and Relationships
If you are the primary money maker in your family you must fully understand how much money you and your family will need to survive, and how this money affects the different aspects of your life. Maintain an open line of communication with your spouse when it comes to finances. Also know how much the bills are, what bills are being paid, and what they are being paid for. You should know what percentage of your income is going to bills every month, and how much is going to other expenses.
Knowing your finances for your family is important, and there are a variety of things that you should keep track of when determining your cash situation:
- Utility bills
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Health insurance
- Car insurance
- Car payments
- Grocery bills
- Life insurance
- Childcare expenses
It is important to keep track of all these expenses (including your savings) so you can know how much you’ll be able to spend on entertainment and other non-essentials.
Life Insurance is another avenue that allows you to secure both your family and your finances. This will allow you the security to keep your family comfortable even if you have passed, and are unable to provide them with your income. Whether through the military’s normal plans, or supplemented by other insurance programs, this money can help your family members to keep living their normal lives, even if you cannot be with them.
Life insurance is simply peace of mind. Being involved in the military is stressful enough. Your family needs to know that they are protected in the event that something happens to you. Give them that peace of mind by fully covering yourself and your family.
Family and Money
Managing family and money is essential in life, and for active or veteran military members it can seem all the more important. Whether you are out on leave or deployed in a foreign country, it is a relief to know that you have strong, healthy relationships at home, and to know that you and your family are financially secure.
You can save a lot of money by monitoring your spending, and not spending frivolously on base. Whether this is in the form of unnecessary personal items, luxury items, or going out on base, you can help yourself to extra cash by watching what you are buying. In the same vein, you can also make sure that your relationships are holding up as well as possible by communicating openly and freely, and maintaining open avenues of communication as often as possible.
It is of the utmost importance to be free of worry in these two areas, relationships and finances, and they will allow you to perform more easily and rest without a troubled mind.