by Dana George | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Nov. 13, 2019
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Depending on your partner for financial support can lead to a host of problems. Here are a few and what to do about them.
Fans of romantic comedies will recognize the story arc: Two people from different socioeconomic classes meet, sparks fly, and eventually they end up together. Perhaps he sells books and she's a movie star, or he's a business mogul and she's a cleaning lady. Whatever the setup, there's always a happily ever after.
Funny, we don't assume the cleaning lady marries the business mogul, earns her MBA, and starts a business of her own. We assume that her new rich partner will change her life by taking care of her.
It's a dangerous premise. Male or female, married or in a committed relationship, counting on your partner for financial security is the very definition of risky business.
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Being financially dependent means that if one partner loses his or her job, becomes ill, or is otherwise unable to work, the entire house of financial cards falls. There is security in having another income to carry your family through the tough times.
Whether you have a one- or two-income partnership, there are several ways you can plan for the unexpected and make sure that each partner feels financially empowered. Consider taking some of the following steps for a balanced financial relationship:
Making time for honest discussions and planning your shared financial future can go a long way toward giving you and your partner the financial security you need. But there are times when financial dependence keeps people in unhappy -- and even damaging -- relationships.
Money should not be the deciding factor when someone wants to leave an unhealthy or dysfunctional relationship. There are millions of Americans who stay in relationships because of financial insecurity, as well as primary breadwinners who don't feel they can afford to leave. If the calculations don't work out, the unhappy couple may limp on.
But there is strength in being part of a financially literate couple. That means that both of you are familiar with the key concepts of personal finance and that you work together toward common financial goals. Here are some of the key financial concepts to work out together:
You may not always agree on the details of your finances, but knowing that you're on the same team can help you find a healthy compromise.
There are few things in life more important than independence -- the knowledge that you can take care of yourself. Remember when you were a kid and dreamt of what you would one day do with your life? Whether those early dreams worked out or not, it's never too late to come up with a new one.
Creating a reality in which you are financially independent allows you to take care of yourself while planning for the future. Knowing that you can take care of yourself offers a healthy dose of pride and can ultimately make you a better partner.
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