Money is one of the most common issues couples fight about. Here’s how to protect your marriage from money mishandling conflicts
Money isn’t exactly the most romantic subject, but it plays a larger role in marriage than it is given credit for. Out of all the issues couples fight about, money matters constantly crop up. So it would help for couples to strive to be more money savvy, not only to prepare for the future, but to help strengthen their relationship with their partner.
For starters, sitting down and communicating what money issues need to be addressed is the first step. Self-assessment could also help set the discussion on the right track.
Here are common money management mistakes to focus on.
Placing focus on material things, or accumulating more and more money can cause strain and pressure on a couple. For instanace, needing to travel to the latest hot tourist destination or showering each other with lavish gifts, when it is not within their means, can cause financial conflict.
Materialism can also cause couples to measure their marital satisfaction by whether or not these luxuries are being met. And the problem of materialism does not just affect couples who are not well off, but even those who are financially stable can fall into this trap. No matter how much they accumulate, it doesn’t seem to be enough.
2. Differing values and spending habits
Couples clash when they have conflicting attitudes towards money. For instance, if one partner is okay with gambling or making impulsive purchases and the other is not. Conversely, being intensely frugal to the point of scolding your spouse for buying “wants instead of needs” could also cause problems.
A common cause of discord is how one perceives their partner’s financial values. If one feels the other is a “foolish spender” it could be the cause of frequent arguments.
3. Clashing money styles
If one is a spender and the other is a saver, it could cause marital conflict down the road. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Instead of trying to change each others money styles, financial planner Nancy L. Anderson suggests, in an article for Forbes, that couples work together to make the most of their spending styles.
“Letting the spender spend and the saver save” can be the key to proper money management in marriage. The spender can be assigned to long-term goals like investment and retirement, while the saver takes charge of short-term expenses—tuition fees, groceries, and bills.
4. Imposing inappropriate traditional roles
Be flexible when delineating money responsibilities. Do not box yourself into traditional roles, like having the husband manage financial investments, while the wife takes care of the household budget. Assess what best suits your personality. This way, each partner can thrive in a financial role that is compatible with their attitude and capabilities when it comes to managing money.
5. Not planning ahead
Financial planning is an important component in building a future together. Not only does it provide stability and security, it also reinforces your bond with your partner, helping you look to the future together while working towards unified goals.
For example, work as a team and determine “retirement goals” as well as future goals for your kids—like colleges and their inheritance.
This way, you are not just bringing life into your marriage, you are making sure you make smart decisions that keep petty money issues from blowing up and causing real damage.