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Back in March 2020, we all thought this would ‘blow over’ in a few months. We’re coming up to almost a year later and, while there is hope, it’s going to be a long slog for all of us to navigate the stress of the 2020 pandemic. Lockdown has put huge strain on money and relationships in the past year – so here’s how to keep strong and ride out the financial storm with your significant others.
It seems obvious, but being open about how we feel with our loved ones is essential to maintaining strong relationships. We often don’t want to burden our partner with negative thoughts or things that are stressing us out, especially at the moment when everyone seems to be under some kind of stress.
However, sharing your honest thoughts about your relationship and financial worries is the first step to a strong future. Hiding money worries is one of the biggest causes of relationship breakdowns -often, one partner won’t reveal the debt they’ve built up out of shame or because they don’t want to worry their other half. If you talk openly about money, it’s much easier to tackle the problems you face together – and that can help stop you falling down the debt spiral, too.
Investing in your relationship is a positive step towards a better financial future. You’ll learn a lot about each other – including your financial worries and goals for the future. For example, you might discover that one of you wants to move house in the next few years, have children, or would like to start their own business. All of these major life events mean assessing your goals as a couple as well as your financial circumstances.
Therapy is valuable both for individuals and couples. It’s a safe space to explore your emotions, emotional history, and how these impact your current behaviours. Finances and emotion are inevitably linked – often more than we realise – so taking time to explore the connection is a great way to help secure a stable financial future. You don’t need to feel like your relationship is struggling to reach out for couples therapy, either! Those with a good relationship often find they deepen their emotional connection and strengthen their joint goals through therapy, too.
If you’re worrying about money, your partner is likely to have similar worries, too. Even if you’ve not been talking about it!
Sit down and take stock of your individual and joint finances together. Be honest about your spending to make a strong financial plan for the future. Look at where you can cut back – this might not mean giving things up. For example, if you both had a Spotify or Netflix subscription before moving in together, do you still have individual accounts? You could save money by sharing a subscription plan!
As well as making a budget of your income and expenses, consider your future financial goals. Talk about what you want to save for – a wedding? A house? A holiday? (We all need one of those!). Work out who needs to save what – and for how long – to reach that goal. Consider setting up separate savings pots in your bank account app or with a savings app to help reach these goals together.
When you’re talking about money with your partner, you may discover they’re more in debt than you thought. Or, you might be worried about revealing your own debts. Have an open discussion about your realistic financial situation as they stand now – and work together to resolve them.
When one (or both) of you are in debt, it’s a scary prospect at any time. Now, with lockdown and furlough and redundancies widespread, financial worries are even more prevalent. Don’t let debt overwhelm you – there’s plenty of free debt advice out there!
Even if you only have a small debt right now, take action to pay it off. This stops it snowballing into a larger, scarier debt and reduces the stress of such situations. Check out our guide to finding free debt advice to start your debt-free plans.
In lockdown, we’re confined to our houses and that often means additional stress on relationships. Combine that with financial worries – and temptation such as more takeaways – and it’s a recipe for strained relationships!
While we’re not able to go out and see friends, there are still ways we can spend time on our own – even for an hour. Getting some ‘me’ time is really important in times of stress, especially if you live with your partner AND work from home. Go for a walk, or even take a bath with strict instructions for no interruption! If you’re missing friends, set up a video call with them – and sit in a different room to your partner for it, so you have the physical and mental space to focus on your friendships.
Of course, not everyone lives with their other half. Lockdown has seriously impacted many relationships, with couples living apart unable to see each other. They often have to choose whether to bubble with their parents or their partner – a tough choice for anyone to make.
Regular communication is important to keep your relationship alive in lockdown – but remember to give your partner space, too. You don’t need to text each other every hour – or even talk daily – to know that they’re still besotted with you! Make sure, though, that when you do talk, you’re covering important topics like money and job stresses. This will help you stay strong in a tough time – and prepare for when lockdown is over and you can see each other again. For example, if one of you is in debt, the end of lockdown could be causing stress if you can’t afford the train to visit your partner. Avoid stress like this by being open about money before the situation arises.
Mental health and money are inevitably linked. Check out these articles next to help find a positive mindset and manage your money more efficiently.