Financial fights are not uncommon. It can happen to anyone – friends, colleagues, and family. Among the three, it is the fight between the family that you should be cautious of – specifically if it is between you and your spouse or partner.
Money is influential enough that it can ruin relationships. An unpaid debt can drive friends and colleagues apart. Financial infidelity can lead to divorce. If you want to keep your finances from destroying your marriage, you need to keep it from having that much power in your life. That does not just mean you have to be fully in control of your finances. It also means you and your partner need to work on it together.
According to David Bach, the best-selling author of “Smart Couples Finish Rich”, couples fight so much about money because we usually attract our financial opposites. We marry someone who deals with money the opposite of how we do it. If you are lucky enough to end up with someone who has the same financial attitude as you, then you are lucky. But that does not mean you will not have financial fights. It is still very possible for you to fight about money from time to time. But you will most likely reach an agreement compared to couples who handle financial matters differently.
Tips to keep financial fights from ruining your relationship
Regardless if you and your partner are financial opposites or not, you need to learn how to face financial fights. According to statistics, financial pressures are usually at its peak when you reach middle age. This is when you are burdened with mortgages, saving for college and retirement, and taking care of the financial needs of both your kids and parents. It can all be overwhelming. And if your finances cannot meet all of these or it is stretching your budget too much, then it can make things stressful. When you are stressed, your emotions are strained. If it is not dealt with, you can easily snap. And that is most likely going to be felt by the closest person to you – your spouse or partner.
Without a doubt, there will always be money problems in any relationship. You just have to know how you should settle your differences without ruining the relationship. Before you can learn how to communicate with each other, let us discuss how you can avoid these financial fights first. Here are tips that you can follow.
Learn how to listen
We all know how to listen but that does not mean we do it properly. There is this quote that says: some people listen to respond, but we should listen to understand. Make sure that when you are listening to your spouse or partner, you are doing it to understand their point of view. It does not matter what you are talking about. It could be your debts, a mistake that one of you made, a financial goal, a change in your budget – you need to listen properly to understand the perspective of each other.
Always agree before a large purchase
If you do not agree on a large purchase, do not push through with it. This is true whether you plan to use credit or not. It is a big expense so you need both of you agreeing to it. If one of you feels like it is not the right time for it, do not go behind the other’s back to pursue the purchase. But make sure it is clear why the other is does not agree to the expense. When you are talking, again, make sure you listen to understand and not to respond. That way, you can avoid any misunderstanding or resentment.
Set goals as a team
This is very important. You should always make plans together. It can be very frustrating is one of you is not really interested in making plans – but you have to force them to do it. Having only one person making the decisions is not always okay. Sit down and talk about your future. Find out what the both of you would like to have. You can start from there. When you are both aware of the goals, any financial decision in the future will be easier to do or agree upon because you both know what you want to accomplish.
This may or may not be applicable to all couples. But if you both want to avoid financial fights, you need to be aware of the accountability of both parties. It is not fair to have only one person accountable for everything. Each of you should shoulder the burden. If one is earning the money, the other should manage it. If both of you are earning, you can split management tasks. It is important to establish this clearly so nothing gets ignored. You may both be assuming that the other is paying the bills but in truth, nobody is taking care of it. That can lead to a disagreement and you want to avoid that.
As you can see, the key to avoid financial fights is to communicate with each other. All of these tips require you to talk to your significant other. Without talking about your money, you will never come to an understanding and agreement. Most fights stem from misunderstanding – something that a good talk can avoid.
How to communicate to avoid fighting about money
Of course, talking to your spouse or partner about money is easier said than done. For some couples, it is easy to sit and talk about money. For others, it can be a bit more difficult to do that. According to a statistic, couples are not always honest with each other when it comes to their finances. These secrets usually end up becoming a problem and that does not bode well for any couple.
To avoid this from happening, you need to constantly talk about your finances. This does not have to be a daily thing. But you need to be more open about it so you will not be taken by surprise when a mistake is brought into the light or you get into a financial emergency.
But how can you do that? Here are some tips that you can follow.
Discuss your budget and assets
Your budget is a great foundation for your household finances. It will give you a general perspective of how much you have. Getting to know your assets will also help you understand your financial position. Do you have a retirement fund, home equity, etc? If anything, your assets can help encourage you because you know how much you are worth. Knowing about what you have accumulated so far can be encouraging sometimes.
Talk about debts
This is probably one of the most important financial topics that you need to discuss. Among all the issues, you want to make sure that this is one area you will never lie about – otherwise, it will lead to financial fights. Talk about the debt you both had before you were together and those you have accumulated as a couple. You need to figure out how your budget can handle all the payments. Discuss which will be paid off first and what you will delay – at least if the budget cannot afford all of them.
Define your goals
It is nice to plan the future together. Your relationship will feel strengthened if you both have goals to reach in the future. Your goals can also serve as your motivation as you try to improve your financial position.
Get to know your saving and spending habits
Once you have discussed your budget, debts, and goals, it is now time to get to know your saving and spending habits. This will help solidify your plans to plans to pay off debt and reach your goals. You need to discuss the expenses you need to sacrifice and the various strategies you need to implement in order to improve your finances. If there are obvious problems with any of your habits, you need to be aware of it so you can help each other.
Be honest about your mistakes
If you have past debts, settlements or even bankruptcy declarations – you need to air all that out. It is best to be honest right now than face the disappointment of your significant other. If there is a problem, you need to be honest with it so you can both deal with the issue together. It will avoid any misunderstandings in the future.
To avoid financial fights, you have to make an effort to be open as a couple. You need to discuss how you feel when it comes to certain financial situations. In the end, honesty will help you get through the toughest of financial hurdles. It is not a matter of “if” but more of “when”. As long as the two of you are working as a team, you can stay out of fights and keep splitting household costs and responsibilities without breaking a sweat.