Seven Steps to Develop a Great Relationship With Your Money

Love is in the air, as many people become enamoured with romantic thoughts around Valentine's Day. While love connections may be foremost on our minds at this time, we can also consider another important relationship that we all should enjoy - the one with our money.

A personal relationship requires understanding, respect and dedication to survive the test of time. Similarly, you need to develop a healthy rapport with your money if you wish to be financially successful. Let's look at some tips that will help you to have a long and lasting money relationship.

Do: Be aware of your money needs

One sign of a robust love affair is when both partners recognise and respond to each other's wishes and needs. To create a healthy relationship with your money, you have to consider all the things that you will need to spend money on over the course of an entire year.

The most effective way to keep track of your expenses is by preparing a detailed monthly budget. It's important to record occasional costs that will arise such as school fees, holidays, property tax or car insurance, for your budget to be accurate.

Don't: Take your money for granted

Some persons become complacent with their partners and start taking their presence for granted. Don't be lulled into thinking that your money will always stick around no matter what you do with it; if you begin to spend it frivolously, you could be setting the stage to losing your precious partner.

Treat your money with respect by establishing priorities for its usage. Your budget will indicate if you are overspending on areas which are not profitable such as entertainment or fancy gifts. Direct more of your funds into profitable uses such as purchasing assets that will retain their value.

Do: Keep track of special dates

To show that they care, special occasions such as Valentine's Day, birthdays and anniversaries should be acknowledged by both partners. One mistake that can cost you plenty and jeopardise your relationship with money, is forgetting dates when important expenses are due.

Create an annual expense tracker that highlights due dates for regular bills and those that do not occur every month. You can incur penalties or late fees for missed payments, and even lapse crucial plans like your insurance policies, if you don't have a system to remind you to pay them.

Don't: Ignore money problems

In every relationship, there will be times when challenges arise that can weaken the strong bond that was built. If money difficulties come your way, such as increased budgetary costs or loss of income, it's important to acknowledge them immediately instead of pretending that they don't exist.

The first step whenever negative financial changes occur is to revisit your budget to see how they will affect your spending plan. You may need to cut back on some expense items to rebalance your budget, or if the income shortfall still persists, you will have to look at options to earn more money.

Do: Get money advice

Sometimes, the severity of the challenge to the relationship requires intervention from a therapist. There may be situations when you do not know how best to handle a major money problem, such as deep indebtedness or costly emergencies, so it's wise to seek professional advice.

Depending on the nature of your money problem, you can get help from reading financial books or by searching online for solutions. If you need in-depth coaching to resolve your issues, then ask a representative at your financial institution, or an independent money counselor, for advice.

Don't: Be tempted by debt

A love affair can be destroyed if one partner gets involved with someone outside the relationship. If you start depending on a money source aside from your own income, such as credit cards or payroll loans, to buy consumer items or meet your spending needs, you will be courting trouble.

Debt can be like a demanding mistress who requires increasing amounts of money to maintain her position. Very soon, most of your pay cheque will be channeled into loan payments and there will be little left to deal with your bills. Avoid the debt trap by ensuring that you live within your means.

Do: Make long-term plans

A love relationship needs commitment from both parties to guarantee that it will remain strong for the long run. While you need to make the best use of your funds right now, you also must make firm preparations to manage, multiply and maintain your money for the future.

Some of your current earnings should be put aside to save for emergencies, build opportunity cash and fund important goals such as buying a home or planning for retirement. If you adopt a long-term outlook for your money, you will enjoy a fulfilling financial relationship for your lifetime.

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