The thought of pledging your love to the one you want to spend the rest of your life with often looks and sounds like a fairytale life when you imagine it in your head. However, even though marriage can be everything you dreamed it would be, it doesn’t happen without a lot of effort, collaboration, communication, and give and take from both partners (that’s where the “for better or worse” comes in).
Combining efforts and sharing benefits to living a life of equal partnership is a great way to start building a strong, lasting relationship. Communication and collaboration toward common values and goals are key to putting your relationship on a path of growth and stability throughout your lifetime together.
One of the biggest causes of marital disputes and divorce is money. Finances have a significant impact on marriages. If you aren’t on the same page financially, it can drastically decrease the financial value of a relationship. As a couple, taking a good look at your Core Values and Belief Systems is an excellent way to ensure you’re working together toward common goals.
Values and Belief Systems
Your internal values and belief systems provide the framework that helps you find meaning and drive you toward your goals.
Your Core Values are a set of principles you deem important. Your Beliefs are your convictions, what you hold to be true, without proof. They both help you make the right choices and act upon them.
Your financial values are how you feel about money. It’s how you want to handle money and make financial decisions. It’s what you stand for and how you want to align your financial habits with your core values to live your best life.
Your financial values provide the framework to help you make confident informed financial decisions.
Why is it important to talk about financial values with your partner?
#1: Our financial choices today affect our financial future.
They determine your spending power and financial freedom for tomorrow, the end of the month, ten to twenty years from now, or any other time in the future.
Ask yourself one question: If you pay your bills & spend the rest every month without eliminating all the debt and building wealth, what will your future be like for you and your spouse and your family?
#2: Money helps us achieve our long-term goals.
Using our money to work for us instead of against us helps us reach those long-term goals like owning our home (no more mortgage), paying for the kids’ college, retiring early, or giving as you’ve never given before. If we know what’s important to both of us and know what we are aiming for we will get there much faster working together (two heads are better than one).
#3: Money supports what is most important to us.
Money helps us support what’s most important to us like family, friends, security, peace of mind, time freedom to do the things we want to do, when we want and where we want.
If one spouse is more financially prepared than the other or even worse, if neither is prepared financially, your future life will suffer from it. Your family will suffer for it and your relationship will suffer because you won’t be able to:
1. Achieve your lifetime goals.
2. Support what’s most important to you and your family.
3. Enjoy time freedom or retirement together as partners.
Your values serve as your inner compass to steer you towards achieving your goals. Your core values should never change. However, behaviors, attitude, and habits can change. It’s important to be clear on what values you do, so make them actionable!
- Do the right thing.
- Make an impact.
- Take responsibility for my own actions.
- Choose to think differently.
- Be an example of what’s possible.
The following is an excellent exercise to help couples understand what values they feel are most important in a marriage and the relationship.
- Write down the top five to ten values you deem important.
- Share your list with each other.
- Circle all the values you both have in common from both lists.
- Choose the top three to five core values you both relate to and agree upon to use as your guide when making decisions for you and your family.
- Make sure you are both clear on what these values are and what they mean so you can make sure your behaviors align with them.
These Core Values serve as your internal “guide” that empowers you to set clear goals that align with your values and purpose in the relationship and are the key to making confident, informed financial decisions.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, Should Married Couples Have Separate or Joint Accounts, managing the household finances as a couple is very important, but how you manage your relationship matters more. However, I do believe the two go hand-in-hand. If you have a healthy relationship, the financial value of the partnership will follow suit. The heart of a healthy relationship starts with your internal values and beliefs.