The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes Couples Make and How to Fix Them
While most married folks find themselves arguing about money at some point, mounting financial problems have the power to unravel otherwise strong relationships.
Mary Claire Allvine, a certified financial planner and co-author of The Family CFO: The Couple's Business Plan for Love and Money told SmartMoney Magazine, "People tend to be emotional and reactive about money, not strategic." As long as we're being honest completely with ourselves, it's probably fair to say just about every financial mistake we've ever made is attributable to emotions. Gah, stupid feelings.
For many of us, it's not until we find ourselves facing financial challenges that we give our finances the attention they deserve. In an effort to calm the financial waters, we offer the 7 biggest financial mistakes couples make, along with fiscally sound advice for how to solve them all after the jump!
Keeping your money separate1. Keeping your money separate
No more what's yours is yours and what's mine is mine. Divvying up bills to be paid by your individual bank accounts makes you more roommates than committed partners. According to HuffPost Weddings, "[Splitting household costs] can breed resentment in a marriage when one spouse makes a lot more money than the other. It also can foster a sense that the person who pays more should have more say in financial matters." While separate finances may work at the start of your marriage, once children are involved it gets increasingly difficult to separate expenses and maintain financial equality. In short, learn how to manage money as a couple from the start of your marriage to avoid big problems later.
A hands-off approach to your partner's debt2. A hands-off approach to your partner's debt
According to SmartMoney's financial survey of couples, debt ranked as the top source of arguments between couples. Unless you've protected your assets from your partner's creditors in the event of a divorce, your best bet is finding a way to resolve the debt together. Check out SmartMoney's Debt Management Center for information on how to get started.
3. Keeping financial secrets
Physical intimacy in a marriage is good, financial intimacy on the other hand, is not so good. Spending money behind your partner's back can cause feelings of resentment and distrust. Money Talks News suggests paying household bills from a joint account and allowing each partner access to personal money for spending at their own discretion, thereby obliterating the need for financial secrets altogether.
4. Not taking financial responsibility
While in most relationships one person takes the financial reins, both partners need to share in the financial responsibilities. Access to bank account passwords, financial records, and the current state of your financial health is must know information. Erin Burt, Contributing Editor of Kiplinger.com suggests monthly money dates with your partner to discuss your household's financial state as a way to share in financial responsibilities.
5. Conflicting spending habits
He's a saver, she's a spender, is there any hope for this couple? You bet. Nancy Anderson of Forbes.com suggests, "...successful couples don't try to change each other. They adapt their money styles to work for both of them." Check out her creative solution to this common financial struggle here.
6. Not having a budget
Establishing a budget not only enables couples to talk honestly about the state of their finances, it facilitates discussions surrounding future financial goals and the joint planning required to get there. Check out Forbes.com's 10 Ways Budgeting Saved My Marriage.
7. Not talking about financial investments
One of you is willing to take a riskier financial approach to investing than the other, now what? SmartMoney suggests having couples think in time frames and taking as much risk as their goals allow. Communication and shared goals hold the key to both partners willingness to compromise and actively participate in obtaining joint financial success.
- By Lori Garcia
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