Money issues can sap the bliss out of any relationship. In fact, according to a MONEY magazine survey, 70% of married couples argue about money. They fight more about money than they fight about household chores, spending time together or even sex. But you don’t have to let finances become your downfall. Consider these simple steps for bringing financial peace back into your marriage.
It’s easy to judge. We’re all critics at heart. But that criticism can be devastating when directed toward your significant other. Perhaps your husband thinks your ever expanding shoe collection is one of the dumbest, most financially reckless things ever. Maybe you consider the $250 he spends on fantasy football to be absolutely insane.
Despite how ill advised their purchases appear to you, it’s imperative not to judge your partner’s discretionary spending, especially if it makes them happy. What is important, however, is to budget their spending so that it doesn’t derail your financial plans as a couple.
Consider creating “ours”, “his” and “hers” bank accounts. The common “ours” bank account is where you as a couple combine all your finances and pay for household spending and financial priorities. Each month have a set amount of money automatically transferred from the common account into two separate “his” and “hers” accounts. This “allowance” allows each partner to have money that they can spend guilt and judgment free.
Agree, for instance, that each spouse will receive $200 a month to spend as they wish. And if they want to purchase something more expensive than $200, they’ll just have to wait and save up for it. In this way couples can enjoy spending freedom while practicing financial discipline at the same time.
Get on the Same Page
A house divided can not stand. Couples with conflicting money goals are headed for trouble. One partner may have a goal of purchasing a larger home in the future while the other partner dreams of building a sizable retirement account. That’s why it’s important to get on the same page financially. Sit down and map your financial future together. Determine your mutual short term, medium term, and long term goals. It may require a good deal of compromise but the results will be well worth the sacrifice.
So you lied about a purchase. Maybe you’re keeping a secret cash stash, or perhaps you have debt you don’t want your partner to know about. Harmless? Not really.
Financial lies can quickly undermine the trust in any relationship. According to a SELF and Today.com money survey nearly 46% of people admitted to lying about financial issues to a significant other. And financial deception has consequences. A National Endowment for Financial Education survey, for instance, found that 75% of respondents admit that such lies have adversely affected their relationship.
Financial lies can quickly undermine the trust in any relationship.
Whatever the reason for the financial infidelity, couples must be honest and come clean. First create the safe space in your marriage needed to discuss financial shortcomings. This space should be a safe harbor of forgiveness and understanding. Then both partners need to lay all of their cards on the table, including an accurate accounting of all debts and spending. Only after being completely honest with each other can you build a foundation for true financial success.
Make Time to Talk
Communication is the key to a successful marriage. No where is this more evident than with finances. According to a TD Bank Love And Money study, couples who discuss money on a regular basis are happier than couples who talk about money less frequently.
Make plans to discuss your financial situation at least once a week. If you must, schedule the time. This is the opportunity to assess your money situation, identify financial challenges and opportunities, and make plans for the near future. When you make talking about money a priority, your financial progress as a couple will blossom.
Unearth Your Hidden “Money Scripts”
Let’s face it. When it comes right down to it, much of our spending is based on emotion. As human beings we all have “money scripts” or core beliefs about money that we subconsciously developed growing up watching our parents deal with money. It’s these money scripts that, for better or worse, guide our financial behavior as adults.
A wife may hoard money because growing up her family never experienced real financial security. Alternatively, she may spend money whimsically because she desires to enjoy the things she never had as a child. A husband may dress to impress and purchase the latest model automobiles as a way to provide himself with the validation he never received as a child.
It can be a painful challenge to unearth the underlying psychology behind our destructive spending patterns. It’s even harder to share these with our spouse, but a strong relationship embraces vulnerability. As a couple, once you face the uncomfortable money scripts which drive your bad financial decisions, you can address them and begin moving your finances in the right direction.
BMWK, How do you avoid fighting over money with your honey?