Communicating about your finances is not optional!

A couple looking at their laptops

Financial Stress is becoming a leading cause of relationship and marriage problems, especially in times of uncertainty.

Source: FIFO Families BlogPlease enter an image description.

Financial Stress is becoming a leading cause of relationship and marriage problems, especially in times of uncertainty.  If you are safe and secure in your current role, now is the time to prepare for your future. If you are not then it is even more vital to be having these conversations.

It is very typical for one of the partners to control the finances in a relationship; this is usually decided by the party with the most financial literacy and/or time to manage the money. Commonly with FIFO relationships it is left to the person at home to manage, ensuring bills are not missed. This opens the door to a lack of communication around finances as the partner away becomes uninvolved.

Relationship (and financial) problems usually arise when one or more of these things happen;

  • The partner at home is left to look after the family finances but doesn’t have the skills to do so
  • The partner working away takes little responsibility or interest in the family finances except wanting to have money for them to spend when they get home
  • One partner takes little or no responsibility for the family finances and spends without considering the overall family financial position
  • Your living costs and debt repayments are approaching or exceeding your income
  • You aren’t getting ahead financially from your time working FIFO as you had expected.

If either partner is refusing to take any responsibility for the family finances or doesn’t want to talk about money openly, this is a huge red flag for your relationship.

If you are that partner, your attitude and behaviour could be driving a wedge between you.

If you are the sole money manager, maybe something in your attitude or approach is making it uncomfortable for the other person to discuss money or,  maybe something in their past has led to this behaviour.

There is no excuse for ignoring the importance of talking openly and honestly about this subject and it is an absolute priority as a couple to fix any issues relating to money.

Both of you are responsible for EVERY dollar spent in your relationship, whether you have approved the purchase or not.  You are both responsible for your financial communication. If you handball the responsibility to your partner then you cannotblame him or her if your financial health has taken a hit.  All financial decisions are a joint effort. Make the time to work as a team on what you are prepared to spend as a family on non-essential items and understand the cost of living. Until you are on the same page you will find you aren’t getting ahead.

A quick survey will help you gauge how well you understand the family expenses, complete the following without looking at any bank accounts.

How much does your family spend on:

  • Weekly food shopping
  • Mortgage repayments per month (or Rent)
  • Petrol per week
  • Children’s education per month (if applicable)
  • What was your last electricity bill
  • What was your last water bill
  • Entertainment and family outings per fortnight
  • Alcohol weekly
  • What is your total level of debt.

Remember to complete all of the above without looking back at statements or bills. Once you have both completed all the questions show each other your answers. Next, go back to your previous statements and bills and find out the answers.

If you have the majority right – both of you – then congratulations you are on the same page, not only to each other, but to your finances as well! If your answers are very different to each other and the bank statements, then it’s time to get serious about your finances.  We invite you to contact Ruth Murdoch a Financial and Relationship Coach at Acorn Life Path on 1300 30 90 12 to book in an appointment today.

Acorn Life Path have written a book called “The Ultimate FIFO Success Book”, a complete guide for FIFO workers and their families to get what they really want out of FIFO.  To receive your FREE copy CLICK HERE.