There’s an old saying that goes, “Money is the root of all evil.” While money may not be responsible for all the problems a couple may have, it’s definitely a double-edged sword. Although money can empower couples to make their own decisions, it also can cause financial disagreements and drive couples apart.
Every couple has disagreements. They go hand-in-hand with any relationship.
However, financial disagreements can be a particularly difficult problem. In fact, money matters and differing viewpoints regarding finances are at the top of the list of reason why couples separate or divorce.
To avoid letting this issue destroy your relationship, consider these three important key points.
1. Communicate Early and Often About Finances
Like with everything else in a relationship, communication is also key when it comes to finances. Even when in the dating phase, it is helpful to talk about money.
Regardless of which stage you are in a relationship, consider applying these ideas:
- Know whether or not your partner has significant debt.
- Get a clear understanding of your income, expenses, and debt.
- Create a household budget together and stick to it.
- Review the household finances together, at least monthly.
- If considering a major purchase, review all of the information and discuss it before making a decision.
- When a financial decision requires a lot of work, divide tasks. Then, report back to each other with your findings.
Make it a regular habit to talk about the family finances. This ensures both of you are engaged and have a voice when it comes to money matters.
2. Work Together to Prepare for the Future
Together, envision where you see yourselves at 10, 20, or 30 years down the road. Do you want to have children? Are you interested in taking an extended trip? Or do you want to purchase a second home?
As you discuss these things, are both your visions in alignment? If not, then you both may have some work to do.
Remember that not every couple is going to align on every major issue. Some disagreement should be expected. Yet, you both should be in agreement when it comes to major issues. If not then keep the conversations going.
3. Decide if You Should Have Joint Accounts or Separate
In the past, it was common for couples to have joint accounts for everything. However, as couples are getting married later in life, they will already have individual accounts. These may include checking, savings, retirement, and investments.
Depending on your situation, you may want to merge accounts. Yet, it is also helpful to have some accounts stay separate, while you merged others together.
For instance, you may want to keep separate checking, retirement, and investments, while opening a new joint checking/savings account. This way, each of you has ownership over the money you earn. At the same time, each can be contributing to a household account, too.
Why Do Couples Have Financial Disagreements?
The reason why couples have these issues boils down to one word—power. And for some people, power can be very addictive.
Money can also mean financial independence; freedom to make choices. Disagreements usually start to occur when one partner feels that they have less financial power. Some people feel that they’re being outright manipulated or that their partner is financially passive-aggressive.
Think about and discuss your relationships with money. If one of you feels the balance of power isn’t equal, how can you change that?
What If You Continue Having Financial Disagreements?
If you have applied the ideas suggested above but are still having financial disagreements, consider getting professional help. A professional counselor, who understands relationships, finances, manipulation, passive-aggressive behavior and money, can be a great resource.
Together, you can work to improve your financial communication skills. During a session, you can review with the therapist what worked for you and what needs improving. It’s a learning process that can pay off big in the long run.
If you and your partner are struggling with money issues, it’s time to have a serious talk. I’m here to help you avoid letting financial disagreements destroy your relationship. Please call me at 949-760-7171 or text 949-244-8572 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.