Arguing about money sucks. Fiscal disagreements can push even the best relationship to the brink. In fact, financially founded arguments account for more marital problems (and divorce) than almost anything else - the runners up being Facebook and adultery, by the way. So why is it that married folks get so uppity when it comes to money? It's simple; our money is tied to our emotions, our cash flow directly tied to our ego, and what we have in the bank how we feel about ourselves and even influences our feelings of stability. When our life partner puts those feelings in jeopardy, all heck breaks loose.
What about you? Do you and your spouse argue about money? Because I haven't had an argument about money with my spouse in almost three years now. If you are tired of hearing your spouse gripe about your credit card habits, or if you are sick and tired of hiding that latest pair of shoes for two weeks so that he won't 'notice' them, it might be time to try a new strategy. Use these three tips to help you avoid money arguments with your spouse, starting today.
Tip No. 1: Be honest
This advice sounds simple enough. Yet, sometimes the simplest of advice can be the hardest to follow. If you want to help your relationship, you need to be honest about your spending.
What I do: My husband and I maintain separate accounts, but keep a household budget (together), pay bills together and have the ability to audit one another at any given time.
Tip No. 2: Know thyself, know thy spouse
Experts say that couples should have complete disclosure in all financial matters. Couples should share credit reports and tax returns, always maintaining financial transparency.
What I do: In my 16 years of marriage, I became the de facto handler of our tax returns and the credit reports, and my husband does not mind one bit. While he has never asked to see either, I always make them available.
Tip No. 3: Make, agree on and stick to a budget
Overspending is one of the biggest spousal gripes. Sit down with your spouse and figure out what money goes where, agree on a budget and stick to it.
What I do: Once the bills are paid, and our budget is balance, my husband and I give ourselves a "mad money" allowance. This is money we can use for girls (or boys) night outs, a new pair of shoes (that one is mostly for me) or for whatever else our hearts desire. Since our fun fund is in our budget (alongside our entertainment funds and everything else), there is no need to argue.
Of course, this is not to say that my partner of 16 years and I never argue about anything. On the contrary, we have some doozies, but once we figured out our money styles and came up with a set of rules that work for us -- and rules we can stick to -- one thing that we have not argued about in three years is cash flow, and that is worth its weight in gold.
What is your biggest financial beef with your spouse?
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