Should you talk about money with your partner?


Two weeks ago, a member of the House of Representatives filed a bill making it unlawful for a wife to hostage her husband’s salary and ATM card. This act of grabbing hold of salary and ATM card according to the lawmaker constitutes economic abuse. The proposal expands the coverage of a 2004 law known as VAWC or “Violence against Women and their Children” Act to include husbands and LGBTQIA+ partners. It makes the law gender equal and inclusive.

A situation that describes an economic abuse is when a partner or spouse seizes his or her partner or spouse’s ATM card and all salaries that take away from a partner or spouse his or her right to choose or decide on spending or fending for his or her needs. Research claims at least 15 percent of relationships are troubled with abused husbands.

Now, an abused husband can use the expanded VAWC should it become a law to protect his right to decide on how to take care of his needs from the abusive wife. But do you really think marriage should end this way?

About the same week, a popular actress shared in social media how her politician-husband asked her how much she spent for her personal trip to Paris and for her outfits of the day. The post went viral. One would be fast to conclude that it is impossible for a power couple to clash about money. For some, they will be quick to say: Is that an issue for well-off partners?

This shows that financial matters are a usual topic of discussion between couples from all walks of life. However, in both examples, talks about finances will not always have good endings. 

Your to-do list as a new couple would not customarily include talking about money. However, experts say by not doing so can lead to fights, problematic budgets and insufficient funds. Agreeing about money matters and not fighting over it can help you stay in your marriage, share financial goals and secure a better future for you and your kids.

Issues such as the budget, savings, and  retirement need your full attention. Financial coaches advise couples to dedicate a time to meet without mobile phones and if possible, without the children crying as those can distract you. 

A milk tea house with a good internet connection is a perfect place to talk about finances. You can bring a gadget like laptop or the ever reliable notepad and pencil to take minutes for easy reference. Try to appoint a monthly date to check if you are meeting your life goals.

An exciting exercise between couples in mapping their financial goals is to write and send each other a letter. When you do this, it guarantees that you will know and feel your partner’s money mind set from looking back at his or her financial history to how he or she managed or handled money before you tied the knot.

Right or wrong, one should not judge him or her. Then after reading each other’s letter come the discovery of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Acceptance of your financial skills is important for you to do the task of talking about whom between you and your partner can best control your finances. Are you going to live without credit cards? Will you have a joint bank account? 

In this role play, give a shot on some partner’s visioning. Where are you now and where do you want to go as a couple in terms of financial security. What are you willing to give or to take to make things happen?

My wife and I are going to celebrate our 15th anniversary March next year. About three months ago, we have talked about our travel goals. Our initial plan was to celebrate it in either Japan or in South Korea together as a family. We went to Hong Kong-Macau about 10 years ago and this will be our first foreign trip as a couple after having three lovely girls.  

But we changed our mind. For now, we thought on investing our hard-earned money on a small preselling townhouse in a nearby subdivision that we will soon post in Facebook as a house for rent and place it in Air BnB for interested travellers-transients. 

We agreed that we will first let our household savings and set aside some our wants and non-essentials to pay the monthly amortization for the next 5 years. Hopefully by that time before we reach our golden years, we will be able to even visit places in Europe or US with the rentals or passive income gained from real estate. 

To be continued…

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*Alexander “Lex” Rosete is a certified life coach and is part of a global coaching community called Life Coach Philippines. He is also a teacher, trainer and consultant on communication, human resources management and public administration.