Money Matters: Strengthening your finances and your marriage at the same time | News, Sports, Jobs
In a survey of divorced couples, 36.1% of respondents said that financial problems contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, according to Initiated. Some participants said that their money problems were not “the most relevant reason for divorce” and that they “rather contributed[d] to increased stress and tension in the relationship. In other words, how you deal with money-related stress and tension can be just as important as money itself when it comes to your relationship.
If you and your partner or spouse are facing financial difficulties, you can take proactive steps to avoid too much stress and strain. Understand why couples fight over money, learn how to talk about money, and adopt some simple habits. By taking these steps, you can strengthen your relationship and your financial situation at the same time.
Why do couples fight over money?
Before we jump into how to talk about money, it’s important to understand the context of these discussions. In other words, what are the sources of tension that can accompany these discussions? What could your spouse be stressed about? According to best-selling author and financial expert Rachel Cruze, there are three main reasons why couples fight over money:
- Debt and resentment: “Maybe a person has a bunch of student loans or credit card debt. The other person might be unhappy about having to pay for their spouse’s past mistakes.
- Salary differences and guilt: “When a spouse brings in less income or has none at all, they may feel guilty about spending money. Or the highest earner might feel superior.
- Different monetary trends: “If your partner is a natural saver, saving money for a rainy day gives him a sense of security. On the other hand, a natural spender has lots of creative ideas about how to use that money.
If any of these issues persist, it could lead to a serious problem. But if you stop and talk about it, you can uncover the underlying issue causing the disagreement and come out stronger on the other side.
In marriage, it’s important to remember that tough times are only part of the story, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
“When conflicts arise, remember that hard does not want to say wrong helps keep things in context,” said Pete Ord, a married entrepreneur and founder of Draper-based company GuideCX. “We are not angry that something in our marriage was difficult; we realize it’s part of the experience, and we can move on and enjoy the happy times.
how to talk about money
To successfully talk about the logistics of money, it is crucial to understand the emotional aspects. You and your spouse need to know where each other is coming from, what they think about money, and what their expectations are. More than a one-off discussion, this is a topic you should revisit regularly in a series of conversations.
Here are some questions to answer on your own and then discuss with your spouse: What did money mean to my family growing up? What is my biggest financial fear? What is my biggest financial dream for us as a couple? What is my view on charitable giving? How do we react when one of us makes a financial mistake?
Once you’ve explored your emotions surrounding money, it’s more effective to talk about the practical details. Decide together on your monthly budget, savings goals and financial priorities. Also talk about contingencies: What will we do if an extended family member asks us for help with financial problems? Are we going to split the bills? What happens if one of us changes careers and our income changes?
The financial habits that will bring you closer as a couple
Although bad financial habits can strain relationships, Well financial habits can bring you closer together. These habits don’t require special training or advanced financial knowledge, but they do require you to dedicate time and commitment. Here are just five important financial habits for couples suggested by Debra Pangestu at MyMoneyCoach:
- Set regular dates to discuss money: Just as you have a regular appointment at the dentist or the hair salon, add regular appointments to your schedule to discuss your finances.
- Discuss your financial history: As part of your discussions about finances, be sure to talk about the emotions behind money.
- Set financial goals together: Choose a financial dream that you both want to achieve and break it down into achievable short-term goals.
- Set up a budget that works for both of you: It doesn’t matter who wins the biggest paycheck, you both need to be equal partners and have a say in money management.
- Allow monetary autonomy: “Providing each partner with a set amount of ‘money for me’ can do wonders to alleviate constant fights over money,” Pangestu said.
As a couple, you can take proactive steps to take the stress out of your finances. By understanding why couples fight over money, learning how to talk about money, and adopting a few simple habits, you can strengthen both your relationship and your financial situation.