Wanna stay married? Then don’t do this – how couples mess up their finances

August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been married more than thirty-five years and I’ve had an argument, or two, with my spouse. As a financial advisor, I have also help quite a few couples work through their money ‘stuff.’ A Reuters article provided some eye-opening statistics and offered some insight into money and your possible relationship strategy.

 The Problem– The frequency of fighting over money was a telling problem. People who fought over money ONCE a WEEK were 30% more likely to get divorced. Money is an important topic. Almost twice as many arguments begin with money (27%) than over kids (16%) or chores (13%).

 Then there’s the fabrications. The same Reuter’s article reported that nearly HALF of the people surveyed have lied to their partner about money. What?! What are you doing, buckaroo? No one thinks a good relationship involves lying for half of the time. No joke. There’s serious trouble when there’s lying in a marriage. Don’t do that!

 Discuss your money– If you’re old enough to get married, then you need to be mature enough to openly discuss your money, spending habits, debts and difficulties. And you will probably need to agree on compromises that you can both live with that really work and will be sustainable.

 You don’t need to wrestle these things out at the kitchen table. You don’t have to do this by yourselves, especially if there are hot-button issues that get you saying things that are not particularly productive. It’s is very common to speak together and involve a third-person to help you work things through. Discuss these things with a financial advisor or counselor. It usually only takes one chat to begin a more healthy discussion and get things negotiated for your financial future.

  Agree to Your Plan– Money is more than an item used in lieu of barter. There are emotional connections that we may unwittingly hold. There are also differences in people. We have different money ‘personalities’ and insecurities. But when you come up with a good plan, that you can both commit to, then please honor each other by faithfully following the plan. Once you’ve made an agreement, stick with it. If it needs adjusting discuss it and then adjust the plan together. Don’t be sneaky. Have a talk about what’s not working and possible solutions to help this working plan be a better fit for you.

 Money discussions can make or break a relationship. Be an adult. Face the truth together. Remember that you love each other, for Pete’s sake, and be open with each other. These are simple steps to help you have a healthy relationship.


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