Confronting money issues for couples is pretty common relationship territory. If you and your partner are like most couples, chances are, you argue about money sometimes. Numerous studies have shown that money fights predict divorce rates. Based on a 2004 study by SmartMoney Magazine, here is what sparks the six most common types of arguments:
merge your finances as there are couples in the world, so don’t get thing up on how you believe things should happen. It took awhile to become a couple, and it will take a while to “couple” your cash as well.
Dealing With Debt. One of the worst things about coupling is feeling like you’re dragging down the relationship with debt—which can feel even worse if your partner comes into the union debt-free. Whenever debt enters the relationship, it’s good to remember that no one is infallible—the debt is not a way to keep a “scorecard” in the relationship. People in mature relationships accept that solving the debt as a team not only strengthens the relationship, but helps reduce the debt more quickly. Cutting up your credit cards may be too drastic for some, but that can help too!
Managing Spending. In many relationships, one gets labeled the “saver” and the other gets labeled the “spender.” Labels and categories can do real injustice to an in-depth, multi-layered relationship, and they never serve to make you feel closer to your partner. And it may not even be true: traditionally, women usually take care of most of the family's daily expenses: the groceries, the bills, clothes for the family, while men spend on large purchases like plasma TVs, cars or computers. The spending amounts to roughly the same, it just played out differently based on the person. They key here is to remember that you’re simply trying to avoid surprises, which a budget goes a long way toward fixing.
Investing Wisely. Over many years, various studies show that men are more willing to take financial risk than women. However, investments are a secondary argument. The biggest issue is achieving agreement and understanding of how specific buckets of money will be used in varying timeframe—or how I like to ask, “which money will be used for what--?” Once a discussion of goals and timeframes are clarified for different accounts and sums of money, it becomes much easier for couples to align themselves with common goals and objectives.
shame and money secrets degrade to such a point they damage you and the people around you!). If you knew that lying about how many books you downloaded on Kindle, even once, would lead to a less authentic, open relationship with your spouse, would you do it? Probably not. Each partner must keep in mind that most relationships aren’t destroyed by one dramatic act, but a series of small, even individually inconsequential acts that chip away at your foundation of love and trust.
Emergency Planning. Just like couples vary on the degree of risk they are willing to take, they also vary on the level of reserves they need to feel safe. They key here is to find the commonality; both partners typically agree that some level of cash reserves makes sense, so where is the middle ground? Once a budget is clarified, issues of emergency savings become secondary, since some level of savings has already been allocated within the spending plan. It helps to remember if there actually is an emergency, you’ll be distracted with supporting one another—and NOT worrying about how to spend the reserve! Sometimes it’s hard to forgive money mistakes—yours, your partners—so the key is to get ahead of them before they happen! With honesty, open communication and a willingness to look at your finances objectively, couples can avoid becoming victim to the top money arguments, and move forward as a cohesive team.
What have I missed? What sorts of money disagreements do you have with your spouse?
Mindy Crary (MBA, CFP® practitioner and financial coach at Creative Money) helps you become a lot more educated (never inundated) about not just your money — but the whackjob behind it. Go to Creative Money and sign up for free classes and more valuable money tips.