It’s no wonder that money is the number one cause of arguments among married couples, as money has enough power over us to be considered the root of all evil.
Money isn’t inherently good or bad — it’s just paper.
What money represents to us individually is the issue that can cause problems.
Let’s learn more about the five most common money fights affecting couples, and how you can avoid them in your marriage:
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1. My spouse controls all the money, and I’m left in the dark.
It’s dangerous for one partner to control all the finances, as marriage is about partnership. Even if one spouse is better with numbers, you both need to have a clear understanding of your total financial picture.
If you both know where you’re at financially, and where you want to go, you can make decisions together as a team.
Solution: Schedule monthly “Money Dates” with your partner. Use the time to review your spending, savings, and big picture money goals.
If talking about money leads to arguments, take a couple’s money course or hire a financial planner who can help you determine if you’re on the right track financially.
2. We don’t agree on how much money to spend on the kids.
This argument is more likely to happen when one parent is in charge of the household shopping and the other one only sees the statements.
These fights will be even more dramatic if one spouse is a natural saver and the other is a spender.
Solution: Switch shopping roles and have your spouse do the shopping for a couple weeks, so they can see how much items really cost. You can then sit down and brainstorm the best way to shop and save money in the future.
Remember, you’re on the same team, and you both just want what’s best for your kids.
3. I love to shop, but my spouse is a saver.
A healthy marriage is based on trust which means couples shouldn’t micro-manage each other’s every purchase.
It’s also important that one spouse’s spending habits don’t sabotage the couple’s financial goals.
Solution: Set a spending limit. Choose an amount that you and your partner can each spend per month without having to talk to one another other first. If the potential purchase is more than your spending limit, talk about it first.
Remember to be flexible and open, and listen to each other’s points of view.
4. I have debt, but my spouse doesn’t. We can’t agree on how to pay it off.
It can be difficult to decide the best way to handle old debt, especially when one spouse comes into the marriage debt free.
It’s important to fully disclose your financial situation and make a plan together.
Solution: Stop thinking in terms of “yours” and “mine.” You’re married now and that means your financial lives are merging.
If your spouse is paying interest on old debt, that’s less money the two of you can save for the future. Sit down together and add up all of your debt and savings.
Make a plan to pay off the debt quickly and start working on your financial goals together.
5. I’m very conservative, but my partner is a risk taker.
Being opposites isn’t always bad because it can help you to have balance.
After all, you’re not likely to reach your big picture financial goals by hiding your money under a mattress or by gambling it away in Vegas.
However, you do need to take on a certain amount of “smart” risk in order to earn enough of a return to reach your money goals.
Solution: Find the balance between the conservative in you and the risk taker in your spouse. This is where a financial planner can help.
A financial planner can assist you in determining a “smart” level of risk that will allow you to both feel comfortable. Or if you prefer a DIY approach, check out the Engaged Marriage Couple’s Money course that I co-created.
Merging love and money isn’t always easy, but we can help.
At Savvy Duo Financial Planning, Inc. we help couples tackle topics such as creating a shared budget, investing, saving for a child’s education, and planning for retirement.
We act as your money coach and financial planner, providing you and your partner the objective guidance and advice you need to reach your financial goals.
Based in Los Angeles, we work virtually with couples throughout the country.