Money is undoubtedly the number one issue that married couples fight over. And it can be the most stressful part of a marriage for even the happiest couples. However, conversations about money don’t always need to be difficult. If you follow some of the tips we’ve laid out below, you can have money talks without wanting to end the conversation in divorce.
Stop Doing These Things
If you’ve been spending a lot of time fighting about money with your partner, you should consider stopping doing the things listed below.
Avoiding the Conversation Entirely
Avoiding money conversations entirely because you don’t want to fight is not the appropriate way to handle things. Avoiding your partner will lead to resentment, and ignoring conversations won’t help you accomplish anything. You will need to discuss money at some point, so it’s good to face the conversation head-on.
Sharing Every Cent You Make
It’s essential to share finances with the person you are committed to, as these relationships are often based on both love decisions and financial decisions. However, many experts feel it’s unhealthy to share every cent you own in a joint bank account with your partner. Instead, both of you should have your own separate accounts and an account you share.
Letting One Person Handle All the Finances
If you let one person handle all of the finances within your marriage or home, a few things will likely happen. For starters, the person handling everything will likely become stressed and feel like they cannot talk to their partner about it. Additionally, the person not managing finances will be oblivious to what’s happening and could be left stranded if something happens to their spouse.
Not Hiring Someone to Help
If you can afford it, hiring a financial advisor is one of the best things you can do for your money and your marriage. A financial advisor is an unbiased third party who will not make you or your spouse feel guilty for your financial choices. There are people who can help you with finances, so don’t rely on your own knowledge entirely.
Trying to Change Your Partner
You and your partner are going to have different financial goals. That will probably never change! Instead of being frustrated with them for not thinking the same way as you, accept that you come from different backgrounds. You may never see eye-to-eye on specific problems, and that is okay. Accepting your differences and moving on for the better will help your marriage and your finances become healthier.
In general, keeping secrets from your partner is usually a no-go, but keeping secrets about finances can make your marriage even more stressful than it already is. So when you have the urge to hide something from your partner, think about what makes it so secretive. What don’t you want them to know? Discovering why you have the urge to keep money secrets from your spouse can help you get to the root of financial problems.
It’s never a good idea to spend money or go shopping when you are emotional. However, spending money randomly can be catastrophic when you have financial problems. So when you feel an emotional urge to spend money, find another outlet to help you feel better, including exercise, relaxation, or watching TV.
Not Having A Budget
Having no budget gives you no concept of the amount of money you should be spending or saving daily, weekly, or monthly. Without budgets to keep you in line, you and your partner will likely spend money arbitrarily and have little to no control over your finances. Sitting down with your partner and creating a budget can help you stay more on track with your money.
Tools For Having the Right Discussion
Now that we’ve discussed all the things you shouldn’t do to not fight over money with your partner, we can discuss some of the tools you need to have the right conversations with your spouse. Of course, there are many different ways to have these kinds of conversations with your partner, but the most important thing is to remain calm, collected, open-minded, and willing to speak nicely about the topic at hand.
Recognize and Appreciate Your Differences
As we mentioned, you and your spouse will always have differences in how you want to handle your finances. Whether you come from different financial backgrounds, have different salaries, or work in entirely different fields, you will have different approaches to how you want to handle things. Instead of being angry about these differences, embrace them, talk about them, and appreciate them.
Have A Joint Account–But Not For Everything
You and your partner should undoubtedly open a joint savings account to save money together toward a goal that you both share. For example, if you eventually want to buy a home, you should start saving toward that together. However, it is also important to remember that sharing every single cent of your finances is not healthy, so a joint account should have a specific purpose.
Schedule Budgeting Nights
If you don’t currently have a system that works for both of you, you need to schedule a time that you can work on that together. Gather some articles and information regarding budgeting tips for families or couples. Print them out. Instead of dreading the budgeting talk, make it a date night! Sit down to a nice dinner and a glass of wine while you mull over the small details of your financial plan. Make it romantic, sensible, and efficient.
When faced with financial problems, it may seem tempting to put the blame on one person rather than understanding that you are attacking your finances as a team. However, you and your spouse are fighting against the problem, not each other, so avoid making accusations about your partner’s financial habits when you can.
Attack Debt As A Team
As we just mentioned, when it comes to financial problems, remember that you and your spouse are fighting against the problem and not against each other. That said, both of you probably have debt, whether it’s from credit cards, student loans, or car payments. Work toward paying off your debt together, supporting each other emotionally and financially along the way.
Compromising is incredibly important in a marriage, and not just when it comes to the small stuff. For example, in an argument with your spouse, you need to put the security and happiness of your relationship above being “right.” To do this, there are likely times when you and your partner will need to compromise on an issue so that everyone walks away reasonably satisfied.
Remember Your Goals
At the end of the day, both you and your partner are probably working toward the same goals, whether it’s buying a home, saving money for a trip, or paying for your kids’ education. So when you are feeling particularly argumentative, remember that your partner probably wants those things to happen just as much as you do! Working together to set realistic personal finance goals can make your relationships stronger and both of you happier.