Money and relationships can be factors for starting rows so a local debt counselling agency is recommending Carrickfergus residents get talking about finances early in 2016.
Christians Against Poverty says having ‘the money conversation’ with a partner can be one of the hardest things to do but it is a move that can really change your year ahead.
Jacqui Robb, centre manager of the Carrickfergus CAP branch in Greenisland, said: “I see people who have fallen into crisis debt every week and I can tell you it is crucial for your health and happiness in 2016 that you have a reality check of your finances as soon as you can in this new year.
“It might be nerve wracking to bring those bank statements out into the open but until you both know what’s happening, you can’t start to tackle it. Working at your finances together, setting goals together and resolving to sort things can be an amazing step forward for the whole family.”
The Money Advice Service found in a poll of more than 2,000 UK adults that nearly half (45%) weren’t always honest with their partner about finances while a quarter were lying about spending.
Christians Against Poverty’s latest research shows three in four debt clients said their situation had caused arguments while nearly a quarter (23%) said debt directly led to their relationship breaking down – so the stakes are high.
CAP’s top tips for having ‘the money conversation’ are:
Pick your time when things are quiet at home and no one is dealing with any immediate stresses.
Avoid the conversation when the children are around, your mum-in-law is visiting or a big bill has just landed.
Agree that you want to make it a year when you get on top of finances together and that the money conversation isn’t about blaming anyone.
Acknowledge that money management can be hard, especially when stressed, or if you’re on a low income. Mistakes may have been made but this is about looking forward.
Remember your attitudes to money might be very different. Past experiences can shape these but you can play to each other’s strengths.
Decide on a shared goal you want to aim for, like a day out, a holiday or a new car or just a “getting back in the black” celebration. This will happen twice as fast if you’re in it together.
Use one of the many online tools – or book into one of the hundreds of free CAP Money Courses – to begin to build your budget.
If you have debts, don’t delay in getting help from a free debt counselling agency like Christians Against Poverty, Stepchange, National Debtline, Citizens Advice, Payplan, the Money Advice Service or, if you’re self employed, Business Debtline.
Make payday the day you review how it’s all going and make adjustments to the budget where necessary.
Avoid credit wherever possible and begin to save as soon as you can, even if it is a small regular amount.
To find out more about CAP see capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006