The No. 1 thing couples argue about is money, and according to a debt survey conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada, personal debt levels for Canadians rose 21 per cent toward the end of 2013, putting average debt at $15,910.
That's quite a bit of consumer debt to bring to the table, especially if someone is living paycheque to paycheque and has no emergency savings in the bank.
Money can definitely be a potential source of stress and a relationship killer, but what are some of the benefits of being financially secure and in a relationship?
There has to be common ground when you enter a relationship and money is involved. You must work together.
Even the wealthiest of couples should allocate funds for savings into their monthly budget. Don't be fooled and think that only the poor need to budget — everyone needs to.
My wife and I entered our relationship with zero debt to our names. It wasn't until after we were in the relationship, got married and bought our first house together that debt entered the picture.
Sure, we both had debt over the years, and my wife had student loans and vehicle payments, but she paid them off aggressively because being debt-free was important to her.
We were both on the same page when it came to finances, which was a plus in our relationship. Becoming mortgage free in five years was the best feeling for the both of us because we accomplished a goal we had set out to achieve together.
My wife and I have never argued about money at any point in our relationship. We talked about money all the time because we loved it.
There was nothing better than saving money and knowing that one day we could potentially have kids and not need to worry, plus we'd have the option to retire early.
We are the forward-thinking, planning type of couple, and even though we are debt-free, we continue to talk about money, because now our focus has changed to our golden years.
I can assure you that taking money out of the mix of arguments is a relief, and we are always happy and can easily wake up in the morning knowing that no one can ever take away what we worked so hard for, because we own it all.
When you are debt-free, you don't have to spend a large portion of your net earnings paying back debt, which means you can use that money toward other things that are important to both of you. Debt can stop you from doing what you love.
Entering into a relationship debt-free gives you the opportunity to build your financial future, which means you can save more money for your retirement investments.
If you are too busy paying off debt, the first thing that gets put on the back burner is investments, which can be a setback, since you want to give your investment funds as much time as you can to grow.
With the cost of education skyrocketing, so does the number of people who rely on credit cards and other types of financial loans. Don't be shy to ask the person you're dating about their finances. If they care about money, they won't have any problem discussing how they save money or have paid back debt in the past.
I'm not suggesting you pass someone by just because they have some debt, although the choice is ultimately up to you anyway. Your heart knows what it wants, and if you know you won't be happy with a partner who is not debt-free, then do what makes you happy.
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