Financial anxiety develops over time and overclouds relationships with our loved ones. Financial stress can be present in below-average incomes or even the higher than average incomes.
People with financial anxiety may be considered the "stressed type," "stingy," "does not know how to enjoy life," and other descriptions. Those people are afraid of a situation where they will be financially improvised and unable to provide for what the family needs and wants.
Anxiety about money is not spread equally among the population. African-Americans, women, and 25-34 year-olds are the most anxious about their personal economic situations. People are not born with this anxiety about money. It develops over time, with added responsibility. As we mature, it becomes clear that financial security is the foundation to living the life you want for yourself and your loved ones.
Usually, anxiety about money is not spread equally within a relationship. One of the partners takes on becoming the family money referee. And as anyone that watches sports knows, while we agree the referee is needed, the referee is not loved by the fans.
Having one person in the relationship acting like the money referee brings the following challenges:
They are considered the bad cup.
That person carries an unequal load.
Over time, that stress about money can harm their health.
Now that we know the negative side of financial anxiety and having one party acting like the money referee, what are the steps to reduce it in a relationship? Here are four steps to handle
financial anxiety in a relationship:
1. Financial responsibility is a team sport.
In a family, one party should not act as the money referee. The other partner should make an effort to be more involved in handling financial issues. That responsibility and financial management are shared.
2. Collaborate on the plan
The planning and certainty give peace of mind and security. Sit together and talk about the expected financial obligations in the near future. Listen to each other. Plan together for the coming month's expenses and income accordingly. With the numbers on the table, you can see the situation more clearly, and make the necessary changes. This step alone can reduce anxiety by at least half.
3. Implement the plan
Now that both parties played a role in creating the plan, it's time to implement it. Both spouses should make an effort to meet the financial plan. With tools like Mint.com, it's easy for both parties to track spending.
4. Flexibility and transparency
Life always gets in the way of a good plan. There are always unexpected expenses. Don't hide them. Talk about them, and see how to incorporate those changes into the plan.
By repeating steps 1 to 4, over time, both parties will own the family financial planning, reduce anxiety about money, and improve their relationship.
A financial coach can play a role in this plan in the following ways:
Becoming the money referee -- in the early stages of implementing the plan. A money coach can act as the bad cup, removing the responsibility from the relationship.
Create a money plan -- a certified financial coach has the tools and knowledge to create the right financial plan for the family and make the necessary changes needed to implement the money plan over time.