5 ways money can ruin your relationship

As with many other things in life, all that glitters is not gold - money is a wonderful tool but it has the power to destroy relationships too. We at GET.com have rounded up five ways money can ruin relationships so that you can prevent your own relationship from going up in flames.

1. Money comes before your partner

Everybody knows money is important; without money, surviving in Singapore is practically rendered impossible. However, if money comes before your partner does, then your relationship is likely to take a hit. No amount of money is going to replace the love, wants and needs your partner craves from you!

Of course, there are cases where both parties in the relationship are workaholics with the aim of making as much money as possible. But even so, without some tender loving care, I don't suppose the relationship will be one that is very fulfilling or healthy.

4 ways to manage your money as a couple in Singapore

  • 1. Individual Accounts

    If the salary difference between the two of you is wide, keeping individual accounts may make things look 'fairer'. It's also great for couples who may not share similar spending patterns so each can still have the autonomy to spend on themselves without going through unnecessary conflict.

  • 1. Individual Accounts

    You will need to agree on how you should split the bills - are you going 50/50 or by percentage proportionate to each's earning power?

  • 2. Share A Joint Account

    In this situation, both of you will combine your income into one single account which will be used to pay for all expenses, big or small.

  • 2. Share A Joint Account

    This can make paying for bills a lot easier and can make couples feel closer due to a shared responsibility. However, you will still need some rules or this arrangement can incur some resentment from certain types of people.

  • 3. Sharing Some Expenses

    This could be the best sort of compromise, as both sides share some responsibility while they still retain autonomy over their individual wants.

  • 3. Sharing Some Expenses

    You can decide on a fixed monthly contribution from each person into a joint account which is used to pay for shared expenses such as mortgages, household bills and perhaps holidays and other big-ticket items.

  • 4. Sole Bread Winner

    While this situation may not be as common these days, there could be times where one half of the couple becomes unemployed for various reasons - sickness, retrenchment, taking a sabbatical, etc.

  • 4. Sole Bread Winner

    If the other has to shoulder the entire financial responsibility of the family for a while, there has to be a clear guideline on what to spend on so as to reduce feeling of unfairness.

2. Not being truthful about your financialstanding

Trust is important in all aspects of a relationship. Without being completely truthful about your financial standing, how do you expect your significant other to just ride the wave and not discuss anything related to finances if the both of you are looking to get married and/or participate in BTO sale launches in the near future?

Are you spending more than what you want your partner to be aware of? Do you have credit card debt that you don't want your partner to know about? Do you not want to tell your partner how much money you actually earn?

Although being transparent about your finances isn't the easiest thing to do, it is something that ought to be done to avoid any potential devastation to the relationship in the name of issues related to fear, shame or even resentment.

3. You don't make money decisions together

Nobody says you have to seek each other's advice or opinion when it comes to getting a McSpicy meal or a cup of earl grey milk tea, okay? Trivial money decisions can go without being made together, but the same cannot be said for big (usually important) money decisions.

What do I mean exactly? Well, things like working towards your financial goals together, knowing what's going on with your combined savings or investments, deciding when is the "right" time to buy a house or have a baby so on and so forth matter.

It sure doesn't help when one person in the relationship is the control freak when it comes to money.

So, if you aren't already discussing and making big money decisions as a team together, please get moving and start communicating. You do not want to keep mum and be ignorant of what's happening to your portion of your hard-earned money in the savings account, right?

Here are 4 ways to manage your money as a couple in Singapore.

9 money mistakes married couples make

  • Couples should talk about where they got their financial values from to better understand each other's attitude toward spending.
  • Financial disagreements often result from not understanding each other's values. For instance, Sally grew up the youngest of 12 children and was always told to wear hand-me-downs. As a result, she feels happy every time she gets a new dress. While it is not right to spend excessively, her husband can work towards communicating a financial understanding with her by knowing her money story.
  • Couples may avoid any form of financial discussions because they are afraid it could lead to a fight. However, pretending the issues doesn't exist will not make it go away.
  • Couples should seek financial advice together, and make it a point to discuss their mortgage, expenditure, insurance, loans, savings and other financial concerns regularly.
  • Money troubles and a bad credit history cannot be kept secret for long. The truth will eventually come out if you are living together with your spouse and making joint plans for the future such as housing or car loans.
  • the relationship will turn sour when money secrets are brought to light simply because there has been a loss of trust between two parties.
    Always be open and frank about debts or loan issues you are facing. The couple should work together to address these issues, instead of keeping secrets from one another.
  • When you start a new life together, it is important that you both talk about how much you expect to spend and contribute every month. Set aside a certain amount for expenses, and discuss if there are any exceptions to the rules you set.
  • Most importantly, stick to the budget and rules you set. Each person has to help the other stick to the budget because it surely isn't easy to stick to tight routines month after month. Make sure the burden distribution is equal as well, to avoid any cause for argument. Just remember to keep your financial goals clearly set so achieving them will be made easier.
  • So you're both bringing in a fair amount of money to the household each month, but are you factoring retirement into your finances? You may be able to sustain your standard of living with the current income, but if you want to maintain it in old age, you will have to think of ways to finance your expenses when you're no longer working.
  • As a couple, you should talk about your career plans and share your thoughts on retirement with each other. At what age would you like to semi-retire? What will you standard of living be when you stop working? Will you have a car even when you're much older?

    It's good to start thinking about your golden years so that you can actually enjoy it by the time you get there. Some couples make the mistake of planning to pay for their children's education, but neglect their own retirement completely.
  • Most couples would have already discussed the possibility of having children before they got married. Your choice will affect the way you set your budget and the way you save money significantly.

    If your combined income is not very high and you wish to have children, you must speak with your spouse about adjusting your standard of living so you can accommodate one more mouth to feed in the house.
  • Also, will you be a single or dual-income family after children arrive? How much should you set aside for your child's education and healthcare needs?
  • Taxes play a big part when it comes to expenses, so part of figuring out your married finances is also figuring out how you and your spouse will pay for taxes.
  • Make a systematic plan to ensure your taxes are paid for promptly, so that you are ready to do so when it is time to file taxes.
  • If both parties are concerned about keeping up an appearance, they could end up overspending on things that don't matter from luxury cars to property or fine dining.
  • It is always important to remember that your relationship and family come first in your marriage. Set goals that are family-centric to prevent yourself from going overboard in your chase for a better lifestyle.
  • Newly weds might not like to discuss death and illness but the reality is that you are not invincible. Make sure you have an emergency plan to cover your financial needs in case one person falls ill or passes on first.
  • Such plans range from having a will, buying home and health insurance policies, and also diversifying your income.

4. Lies start snowballing into bigger lies

Extending from point #2, this point reinforces the importance of having mutual trust in each other. Lies, regardless how big (e.g. how much debt you have) or small (e.g. how much those killer heels cost), will lead to more lies and hence, frequent fights.

Distance between both parties in the relationship sets in and over time, when nothing is done to alleviate the worsening issue, love is lost. By the time you get to this point, your relationship's already six feet under - dusty, dead and inevitably gone.

5. Income difference sparking quarrels

There are two sides to this.

On one side, you could be the one earning less than your partner and getting criticised by your partner from time to time for your choice of work or career path.

You may be chasing your dreams and doing what you love though it does not pay the best or most, but that's what keeps you happy and fulfilled. If your partner claims that he or she supports you in what you do for a living, but wind up at the end of the month whining about how you make less money, that can ruin the energy of the relationship.

On the other side, you may be the one earning much more than your partner and feeling short-changed by your partner not contributing enough to household or joint expenses. Before it all ends in a big explosive quarrel about income difference, try to have small talks about spending and budgeting so that you can both speak your thoughts.

The 4 biggest pitfalls of opening a joint account with your spouse

  • While the administrative convenience of joint accounts is clear-no more splitting bills down the middle, here are some reasons you might want to think twice before giving your other half access to all your money.
  • No matter how well you think you know a person, it's always a surprise to discover he spends $200 every time he goes out for a drink, or that her facials cost more than this year's pay increment.
  • While joint accounts are useful when you've got joint debt, like a housing loan on your marital home, you might not be too pleased when you realise you're contributing to your spouse's study loan repayments for that degree in Egyptology she took 10 years ago, or his credit card debt incurred through all those "business meetings" at KTV lounges.
  • Even if you've been the one contributing 90 per cent of the funds to your account, as a joint account holder your spouse is also regarded as the rightful owner of the funds. This means he or she can legally do anything he or she wants to 100 per cent of the funds in the account.
  • Clearly, joint accounts are a tricky matter, and if your spouse had a nickname containing the word "psycho" back in university, you might want to think twice before taking the plunge.
  • It's probably wise to maintain separate accounts in addition to your joint account, and this is what many couples in Singapore do. Each spouse also gets a little bit of independence and privacy, so you won't find yourself having to explain why your drinks session that night cost $500.
  • This stops either party from treating the account as a subsidised shopping fund and also prevents each stock-taking exercise from devolving into a police interrogation.
  • Decide how much each person has to contribute and stick to the plan.
  • If you've decided to contribute $600 each month and your spouse $300, each party knows what to expect, as opposed to both parties vaguely agreeing to transfer an unidentified portion of their salary each month.
  • For instance, in the event that your spouse loses his or her job, unless you have a hole where your cold, cold heart used to be, you probably shouldn't expect him or her to contribute the same amount as before.

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