How to Reduce Fighting Over Money & Budgets
There are a lot of couples that dispute with each other about financial matters. A recent poll found that 27% of Americans had gotten into fights with family or friends over money issues. According to a recent study (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/alpha-consumer/2010/10/18/the-biggest-money-mistakes-couples-make), marital discord is fueled by financial issues more than any other source of contention.
Arguing over money is a certain way to drive a wedge between you and your partner. Couples who had financial disagreements more frequently than once a month were twice as likely to divorce, according to research conducted by Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University.
The news is not good.
The good news is that there are ways to decrease arguments over money with your partner.
Be Honest About your Finances
When your partner finds out you owe $20,000 in school loans after you’ve been married three years, that’s a problem. Though it may be hard to talk about, it’s incredibly important that both people be financially transparent. Any time you hide something from your partner, you make it that much harder to form real intimacy. Secrecy is one of the first things to undermine a marriage, and when those secrets do finally come out, and they will (how long do you think you can hide your debt), the arguments will follow.
Establish a Budget
Will establishing a budget be a fun project? Nope, but it’s really important that you both do it anyway.
Creating a budget gives you factual information that cannot be disputed, hence it takes the wind out of your argument for you. Many financial arguments are based on assumptions and emotions, so when you have a budget, you get to look at cold, hard numbers and nothing else.
Should one of you not stick to the budget, there is no need for finger-pointing, as the numbers speak for themselves.
One important thing to note about creating budgets is to make sure you each have some wiggle room. You’ll both, from time to time, want to buy something the other thinks is frivolous. Having some wiggle room will allow you to make smaller purchases you don’t have to defend.
Understand Each Other’s Spending Style
Everybody has their own unique money personality, so it’s important that you and your partner understand each other’s spending style. Are you a saver or a spender? Two savers joined eternally is a good thing – two spenders together will be challenging. But even more challenging is when a saver and a spender tie the knot.
When this happens, the saver resents the spender on an almost daily basis for buying those unnecessary lattes or that new pretty bra. Understanding each other’s spending styles won’t change them, but it will open the lines of communication.
The need for money in our society won’t be going away anytime soon, so every couple should spend a little time on these tips to make their home lives more peaceful and loving. And, should your arguments about money persist, it’s a great idea to seek guidance from a therapist, who can help you both communicate better and manage your issues.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.