The statistics that surround the conversation of love and money aren’t pretty. We all know that money can cause rifts in relationships, but not many realize that couples average three arguments per month aboutfinancial issues and that money is the most common reason married couples fight. Even worse, these disagreements about money are the mostcommon predictors of a future divorce.
Finances will always be a tricky and emotional topic to navigate, even amongst the closest of couples. Everyone has a unique financial personality and it’s not always easy to break from that comfort zone. Spending can make savers incredibly anxious, while spenders may see savers as penny pinchers.
Luckily, there are ways to navigate clashing financial personalities, and it doesn’t involve ignoring the conversation altogether. As an advisor who frequently serves families, I’ve worked with a number of couples on spending, budgeting, and how to find a happy medium with which both partners feel comfortable. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial friction.
1. Don’t Lie About Spending
It’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, have joint accounts or separate bank accounts. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to significant expenses, loans, or ongoing fees.
Studies show that around 49% of financial arguments are about unexpected expenses. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding spending habits and upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid such confrontations.
2. Establish a Few Ground Rules
One way to stay away from secretive behavior is to establish boundaries. Create a plan that encourages honesty and still allows for freedom. Come up with guidelines regarding how much should be spent in various categories and give each spouse some pocket money to spend as they wish. Finally, determine an amount that requires a conversation before a purchase, whether it’s $50 or $500.
3. Work Together
Most often, one spouse acts as the Chief Financial Officer of the household, managing all bills, budgets, savings, investments, and insurance policies. However, it can be helpful for both partners to understand their spending versus their saving. If time allows, sit down together once a month to review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills and check for any possible errors. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.
4. Define Shared Goals and Values
Even if one spouse has more of a financial mind and interest in finance, each partner should have input into the budget, goals, and money values. Both partners need to buy into the plan so that things like overspending or miscommunication don’t derail the relationship.
For example, when only one of you knows how much money has been allocated to specific categories, if the other person goes out and overspends in that category it can lead to frustration and fighting. But if you both know how your finances stand, you can celebrate reaching goals together and also brainstorm ideas to get over obstacles. Two heads are better than one.
5. Treat Yourself on Occasion
Set aside a portion of pocket money that you and your spouse can each spend every month on something you love, whether it’s a massage, a round of golf, or a steak dinner. Along with saving for long-term goals, set small objectives you can reasonably accomplish each month and celebrate your success.
6. Collaborate with an Unbiased Third-Party
Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third-party, whether that’s a financial advisor, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial advisor can work with you and your spouse to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your coverage, assist you in establishing short and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice. Some couples seek guidance from a marriage counselor for assistance with building stronger lines of communication and compromise.
Your Next Step
There’s no solid plan for avoiding relationship tension or money concerns, but finances don’t have to become a constant source of concern. Invest the time to understand your unique way of viewing finances and address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.
At Pilot Wealth Management, we work with individuals, families, and business owners across the country. Like many Americans, our clients have families and work hard for their money and want to make the most of it. Our mission is to make financial planning less complicated and saving for your family’s future less daunting.
If you have questions about your financial situation, desire advice or education on investing, or have yet to get started strategically planning for your financial future, we’d be happy to help. Call me at 734-330-7033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book your free introductory meeting here!
Chris Rueger, AAMS® is the President and Founder of Pilot Wealth Management, a fee-based only financial advisory and investment management firm. With nearly two decades of experience, he serves as a financial planner who brings financial advice and investment guidance to families serious about their financial future. With all his clients, he strives to instill in them peace of mind that their life savings are being handled appropriately so they can maintain their desired lifestyle. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he works with clients locally and across the country. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn.