Why Couples Fight Over Money – And How to Avoid It
Money may very well be the number one reason couples fight. You want to buy a bigger house than your husband thinks you can afford. Your partner wants to go on a lavish Mediterranean vacation but you want to be prudent and have a staycation. Or your son just got into Harvard and your wife thinks he should go to community college for two years so you can save up for the pricey Ivy League education.
Money fights happen one of three ways: Resentment, lack of communication and comingling finances too early.
Oddly enough, your money worries didn’t begin after the “I do’s”. They started way before that.
Resentment: Don’t Let Hard Feelings Hurt Your Feelings
The way we perceive money and how it’s spent is ingrained in us at an early age. If you had a parent who taught you the value of paying yourself first by putting away a certain amount of money in a savings account from every paycheck, you will tend to resent your spouse who may have grown up in a free spending environment.
Another path to resentment is if one spouse or partner earns more than the other. It’s a difficult pill to swallow when you’re pinching a penny so hard that Lincoln cries, but your spouse is happily buying whatever he or she wants.
Lack of Communication: Put It All Out There and Ask for Help if You Need It
One of the key things that causes friction in a newly married or just-moved-in-together couple is hidden debt. We all have some debt as we go into a relationship but a frank discussion beforehand will make things flow much easier.
Here’s an example. Chris and Kate decided to buy a house before they got married. When they got to the closing table and Chris looked at the settlement statement, he was shocked by the amount of credit card debt Kate hadn’t told him about. The lender was making her pay off that debt and close out the accounts as a condition of closing. If Kate had been up front with Chris ahead of time, she could have avoided the argument that happened after closing.
Comingling Finances: What’s Yours and Mine Shouldn’t Always be Ours
While throwing all your money into one pot is romantic … and what couple can’t resist how wonderful their names look together on a checking account … it can also be disastrous.
Having a joint account is fine especially when you have decided on the expenses you will share. But keep your separate checking accounts at first in case your relationship doesn’t go the distance and you break up.
Money, debt and how to spend what you have can take a relationship from fantastic to flunk out in the blink of an eye. Remember to always communicate about your money needs and come up with solutions together.
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