When was the last time you were fighting about money with your spouse? If you’re like most marriages then your answer is probably something like “yesterday”. Unfortunately fighting about money is all too common and the cause of much resentment in relationships.
According to a nationwide study conducted by Money Magazine, 70% of married couples fight about money ahead of fights over household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring, and what’s for dinner. 22% of husbands and wives have spent money they did not want their partner to know about. The most eye opening stat from this study is that 60% of husband and wives check their bank accounts more often than they have sex, insane!
The top reasons for fighting about money are frivolous spending, savings, deceit, and exclusions from decisions.
After reading those stats, it seems like money and marriage go together like oil and water. Fighting about money in a marriage is extremely detrimental to the overall happiness within the relationship. Whether you fight constantly or time to time following the steps below will help you end the conflict once and for all.
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The Top 7 Secrets to Stop Fighting About Money:
1) Commit to working as a team
A marriage is like a team, it’s time to start acting like it. When it comes to fighting about money it’s usually caused by both parties have different goals in mind. Many times one person is the spender and the other person is the saver. Being on different pages about money is sure to cause issues. Knowing more about money does not matter in this case, it’s about working together. This is a difficult step to overcome, but the long-term gain is worth it! You committed your life to your partner now commit to being on the same team and stop fighting about money.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
2) Be open and honest
Everyone knows that lying and deceit are extremely toxic for a relationship. Building an unbreakable trust should be on the top of your list. Take some time to sit down and get everything out on the table. This is your time to be completely honest with each other and discuss the issues going on. Discuss what is causing your anger or resentment towards each other. The key to getting past this step is having an open mind and being respectful to one another.
This is also a great time to organize your finances. It’s hard to make progress unless you already know your current situation.
Steps to organize your finances:
- Collect and write down your assets and liabilities
- Calculate your net worth
- Create a monthly budget: Income vs. Expenses
- Calculate your overall cash flow
- Get a hold of your free credit score
- Evaluate the overall picture
3) Figure out the “real” issues
The interesting thing about personal finance is that it is actually VERY personal. It might seem like most fights are about a certain dollar amount spent, but in reality, it is much deeper than that. Most fights are caused by the feelings associated with the disagreement, not the actual monetary value.
Is your spouse a spender or saver? Have you ever actually thought about why? In most cases, our spending habits come from our life experiences. Did they grow up in a wealthy family where money was never an issue? Did they grow up in a family that lived extremely frugal because they were stuck living paycheck to paycheck? Do they value material items over experiences? All of these things should be considered when figuring out the real issues causing the fights. It’s time to dig deep and find the cause.
4) Create a plan you both agree with
If you were able to get everything out on the table and move forward now it’s time to come up with a plan together. Sit down and write out a monthly budget you can both agree on. Create a set amount of “discretionary spending” each one of you has to spend however you want. This set amount of money will help prevent issues caused by over spending on things you disagree on. The key is both of you agreeing to stay within budget.
Brace yourself! This step might take some time and could trigger a fight in itself. Stick with it as a team and it will be completely worth it down the road.
5) Write down your goals
What goals do you have together? What are you saving for? Are you trying to retire early? It’s time to write down the exact goals you want to achieve together. This step should be very specific! If your goal is to put $1,000 towards your student loans every month, make it happen. Don’t get caught being too broad as with any goal you have less chance of being successful. Write down the exact numbers you have in mind and keep each other accountable along the way.
6) Review and revise often
Without reviewing and revising your budget and goals how will you track progress? You need to track your progress along the way to see what is working and what is not. A budget will only work if you commit to it and follow it. Too often couples find budgets to be scary and limiting. It’s important to understand a budget is like a roadmap for your money. Everyone has different priorities in life and in order to use your money for those priorities, you must first take control of your finances.
Weekly and monthly reviews will help ensure you are staying on top of your spending. Simply you either control your money or it controls you.
7) Appreciate each other’s differences
It’s funny how opposites attract in most marriages. Chances are you are similar in many aspects with your partner, but you also have many differences. You will never be able to agree on everything, that’s the beauty of marriage. Use this to your advantage! With two different sets of ideas, values, and goals you can achieve quite a bit. Two heads always think better than one.
Take the best from both perspectives and combine them for the ultimate solution. Instead of focusing on your spouse’s weaknesses focus on each other’s strengths, it’s actually very powerful! There is no “one plan fits all” in finance. Everyone has different relationships, priorities, and goals.
Final thoughts about fighting about money
Fighting in marriage is going to happen from time to time, it’s inevitable. Taking the proper steps to minimize the arguments can have HUGE impacts on the health of your relationship. You love your spouse with everything you have, why create resentment and anger over an issue you can resolve with a little team work? Follow the steps above to stop fighting about money and your marriage will be much more enjoyable. Remeber teamwork makes the dream work!
What is your best marriage tip for a happy marriage?
How did you get your spouse to get on the same page with money?
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