One of the most comforting aspects of being in a committed relationship, besides the love and appreciation you feel for one another, is the confidence that you can count on your partner’s help and support in times of hardship. You feel protected and safe. But are you? Let’s talk about financial independence in a relationship.
As much as we would like to think that together we are invincible, sometimes unexpected things happen: people change, priorities change, accidents occur – it’s just life. If tomorrow you would end up in a situations where you can’t financially rely on your other half (or anyone else) would you be able to manage? It’s very easy to dismiss the need for financial independence when part of a couple. The fact that everything comes out of the ‘common pot’ can mask a false sense of security, especially for the partner who earns less money or has no income at all.
I have sadly witnessed the negative effects of such a situation in my own family: after weighing the options the two partners have decided that it would be financially savvy for one of them to stay at home and take care of the children, keep the house in order, etc. whilst the other would continue to work and sustain the family financially. After several years the relationship fell apart.
The non-working partner suddenly realised that they had no money, no job, no savings and a huge gap on their CV, plus two children to raise on their own. It took them years to recover, not only emotionally but financially too. In this case the relationship ended, but the situation would have been similar if the working partner would have, for whatever reason, become incapacitated and unable to work anymore.
Undoubtedly, a relationship is all about sharing: your love, time, responsibilities, money, life, everything. However, it is absurd that aiming for some financial autonomy whilst still being part of a relationship is considered selfish or materialistic.
I am a big advocate of having your own rainy day fund, in a bank account that only you have access to. And I believe your partner should not only encourage you to have such a safety fund but should also have one themselves. This is not about being selfish or pessimistic. It is about thinking ahead and acknowledging that things don’t always go as planned and the future is unpredictable. Building a safety net is something everyone should actively do, regardless of how rosy their current situation is.
So think about it, how (in)dependent are you financially? If you already have an emergency fund of your own then I applaud you! If, however, you don’t like your answer to my question then by all means do something about it. It’s never too late to start so take the first step towards your financial independence. Even if you don’t have that much money to begin with, anything is better than nothing. Have a conversation about it with your partner. You both have the right to rest assured knowing that if something unfortunate were to happen you (and your partner) are well equipped to manage it.
I’d love to know your views and experience on this subject so leave them in the comments. Remember, if you have any questions or need help with anything please get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, stay savvy!
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