Find out if your spouse is holding you back financially

November is Financial Literacy Month! Make sure to have an honest conversation with your spouse about your financial goals.

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It was our first big fight and it happened the day after we got engaged. He casually let me in on his dream: to own a house in the country. I laughed — to me, buying a vacation property seemed like a needless extravagance and one we certainly couldn’t afford. A big argument ensued, after all, I was dissing one of his life goals.

No big surprise, couples fight about money all the time. I think the reason it’s such a hot topic is because cash is often tied to our dreams, whether it’s the perfect handbag to make us feel great, a dream vacation, or a buying a cottage. Fighting from time to time is a heck of a lot better than not having an honest conversation about money, which happens all too often. And since November is Financial Literacy Month, see how you measure up to the rest of Canadians in relationships.

Here are the stats according to a survey by Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada:

– 82 percent of Canadians in relationships say they speak openly and honestly with their partners about finances.

– One third say their partner’s spending habits have hurt them when it comes to achieving financial goals.

– One in four Canadians believe their significant other hides expenses.

– Nearly half feel they are more in control of their finances than their partner.

– A third have argued with their significant other over their spending habits in the past year.

It’s not healthy to feel you have to hide your purchases, and it’s definitely not OK if you think your spouse is holding you back financially. If you’re worried that your spouse is dragging you down financially, here are a few steps to help get you back on track:

1. Talk about your goals

Where do you see yourselves in 10, 20, even 30 years? When do you want to retire? How much of your kids’ education do you think you should pay for? These are just a few questions you and your spouse should sit down and discuss together to see if you’re on the same page financially.

2. Don’t freak out if your goals are different

So he wants to spend your savings on a cottage and you want to sock it away in investments. Your different goals doesn’t have to equal disaster — but it does involve an honest discussion and willingness on the part of both of you to compromise. If you’re having trouble working it out on your own, then consider getting a financial advisor to help you balance both of your goals realistically.

3. Give yourselves some fun money

Everyone needs a bit of independence when it comes to spending. If your budget can handle it, make sure each of you has some money every month to spend on what you want — no questions asked. A little financial breathing room can take the pressure off and hopefully cut out the impulse to hide purchases.