WHEN people start dating, they’re often caught up in the romance of it all and money can be a daunting topic to bring up, says founder of financial-education business Women with Cents Natasha Janssens.
She says a recent Relationships Australia report cites financial stress as a leading cause for divorce.
“Couples need to have regular conversations about money,” Natasha says.
“My husband Simon and I started dating in our early 20s and it was our first serious relationship for us both.
“We’ve changed and evolved over the years, and learned a lot! At the start, like many modern, independent women I wanted to keep the finances separate and felt it was great. He could buy a Playstation and I could buy a new dress without any arguments or asking permission from each other.
“But over time we realised that keeping the finances in isolation to each other meant we didn’t have a joint goal to work towards.”
Natasha says that without a joint goal, problems can occur down the track, with the possibility of creating a lack of communication.
“Couples need to be mindful of taking that step and having regular communication about their joint goals,” Natasha says.
“It’s about daydreaming together, what do the next two, three, five years look like and where do we want to be? And then taking steps to achieve it.”
Natasha says that while we all have different values, particularly around money, a successful relationship can overcome that.
The approaches we take can affect the stress that money puts on relationships, as we all have different levels of risk tolerance, Natasha says.
“Women are often more cautious and want to save for a rainy day, while men have more bravado and are prepared to take on higher risk investments,” she says.
“If you feel stressed about money, sit down and talk about it with your partner – don’t let it fester or one or both of you will explode.
“I like to think of the household as being like a company – if every employee is focused on solely their own goal, it won’t thrive and progress. Everyone needs to be committed to the same goal, while also having their own personal goals as well.
“Everything we do is tied to money, so communication is key.”
For more information, visit womenwithcents.com.au