Being financially literate is a skill we all should have. But even though it’s essential, many people tend to have knowledge gaps. Financial literacy is especially important in relationships when two people's finances start to join together. That’s because the way each person behaves with that money will affect the other person, or the entire family. Finances can cause stress in people's lives, and strain relationships and marriages. In fact, 68% of Canadians think that financial problems are the top reason for divorce, according to Regina Divorce Lawyer.
Being financially literate means being able to understand and responsibly use financial skills. It's never too late to increase your financial knowledge to help your relationships and family become more financially healthy.
Here are four reasons why financial literacy is essential in relationships.
1. You can be more transparent about finances
Some people may have grown up thinking that you shouldn't talk about money with others. And some people may not like talking about money because they don't actually know much about money.
Financial infidelity is when someone in a relationship is lying about, or hiding information about their finances. And it's a very common issue that may be one of the biggest reasons conflict and arguments around money issues arise in relationships. One in five Canadians were found to be committing financial infidelity, according to a survey by Rates.ca. It can grow to something much bigger than how it started, and hurt you and your family if it leads to significant debt or bad credit.
But when you feel confident in your financial knowledge, you’ll be able to be more open about your finances with your significant other. Being transparent and truthfully talking about finances in a relationship can set you up for financial success. You will both know what the financial situation is and be able to communicate if there are any issues. There will also be no surprises about how much available funds there are when unexpected expenses come up. Say there’s an emergency that you haven’t planned for and your pocketbook will take a hit. If you’re open about your finances, your partner won’t be shocked to find out that you had to use your credit card to pay for it.
2. You can better plan for the future together
Planning for the future could become easier and less stressful when you both have a good understanding of how finances work. So educate yourself on things like the cost of buying a house, saving for retirement, or short-term goals, like going on vacation. You will both be able to be smart and responsible about your savings and expenses, and you can be on the same page when it comes to understanding all the whys and hows.
Creating a cash flow plan for your household is the best way to plan for future short- and long-term goals, as well as ensure you are able to meet your needs. Working with a Certified Cash Flow Specialist and using an app like Winton is a great tool for that. It gives you access to both planning tools, and helps you improve your financial literacy with eLearning courses.
Want to get access to Winton? Request access here.
3. You may have fewer arguments due to financial matters
Sometimes in a relationship, two people will have different views and behaviours about money. For instance, one person may be a big spender and believe they’ll make back any money they spend eventually, while the other person might be frugal and like to save as much as possible. Of course, when people have opposite money behaviours, this could definitely lead to disagreements and strain in a relationship. Again, being financially literate and understanding how money works could help you both have better conversations around financial matters with less tension.
Money Mindsets have a lot to do with how well two people agree on things when it comes to money. Determining your Money Mindset will help you uncover what your financial tendencies are. You can also learn about the other Money Mindsets. If your partner doesn't have the same Money Mindset as you, you'll be able to better understand how they think about money, and it may become easier to meet somewhere in the middle.
Want to find out your Money Mindset? Take the Money Mindset Quiz here.
4. You can pass down healthy money behaviours to your children
Did you know 54% of Canadians feel like their parents weren't proactive in teaching them about money and budgeting, according to a Ledger Survey? Children will often mimic their parent's behaviours with money because it's what they are familiar with, especially since schools haven't been known to put a lot of importance on teaching youth helpful financial skills in ways that they’ll be able to use later in life. The potential problem with children getting financial literacy skills from their parents is if their parents have financial knowledge gaps themselves, they may just be passing down unhealthy money habits and behaviours. In the end, no one will know better. That’s why it’s important to have financial literacy skills so you can demonstrate healthy money habits to your current or future children and break the cycle.
Becoming financially literate doesn't have to be a difficult process. There are many learning resources available. Be wary of courses that just drop a bunch of financial terms and information on you. Instead, look for courses that give you real examples you can relate to in your life, and tools that allow you to apply the knowledge you gain to real life. This way, you can start making healthy financial changes in your relationships, whether that’s with your partner, parent, or child.
CacheFlo is a financial education company that builds eLearning and tools to help financial professionals and individuals make behaviour-based changes, which allow them to get more life from their money. We want to make it easier for people to predict the impact of their financial choices before they make them.
About the Certified Cash Flow Specialist (CCS) program
CCS professionals go through enhanced cash flow-based training to develop the skill set to deliver behaviour-based cash flow advice. They start the financial planning process with a cash flow plan to genuinely help their clients get more life from their money.
About the Financial Capability Program (FCP)
The FCP combines quick and practical lessons with tools, including Winton, which helps people make financial changes they can stick to. Users can apply what they've learned to their financial situation, thus bridging the knowing-doing gap. The goal of the FCP is to help people get more life from their money.