According to CNBC, finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship. 35% of people surveyed said that money was the primary cause of friction in their relationship. Managing your finances as a couple can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 tips to help you prevent money arguments with your spouse.
Do the Budget Together
While it’s definitely a good idea to let the person with number skills keep track of the budget, both partners need to be aware of what is going on regarding the family finances. Meet together with your spouse weekly to discuss your current financial standing. Often times couples will argue, with one partner wanting to purchase something and the other person saying there’s not enough money to buy it, turning one partner into the ‘bad guy’. This common situation can be avoided by discussing the budget together. If both people know that the money is gone, there is really nothing left to discuss about whether or not to make a purchase. Things run much more smoothly in a relationship if both people are on the same financial page.
Have Unified Goals
It’s important to be working towards a goal as a couple. Whether it’s paying down credit card debt, or saving for a future vacation, working together to save money minimizes waste and brings both partners together. Quicken has some great advice for setting financial goals as a couple.
Merge Bank Accounts
To be unified as a couple, it’s easiest to have a unified bank account. Uniting your bank accounts is a great way to get rid of division in a marriage. With separate bank accounts, it’s extremely difficult to divide up all of life’s expenses equally, and the result is always one partner feeling like they’re paying more than their share. Whether it’s paying for home insurance costs, the cable bill, or utilities, keeping the numbers even can be a challenge. You’re merging your lives, so merge your bank accounts. However, while this works for most, it may not work for all couples, especially those with past financial difficulties. Money has some great advice for how to keep bank accounts separate if you are trying to not ruin each other’s credit scores due to past financial decisions.
Merge Your Debt
We’ve all heard the phrase “when you marry someone, you marry the family”. This is also true of debt. When you marry someone, you marry their debt. It should no longer be considered ‘your’ debt, but ‘our’ debt, and all financial goals should work towards eliminating the debt together. Of all the issues that cause arguments, debt ranked number 1 for most (37%) of SmartMoney’s survey respondents. “That’s one of the places where couples have most disagreement,” says financial author Ruth Hayden. When you have merged bank accounts, and merged debt, you are paying down ‘our’ debt with ‘our’ money.
Set Aside “Me Money” For Each of You
When you’re in a relationship and have joint money, most expensive purchases should be discussed beforehand to show consideration for the other person’s preferences. But sometimes always having to ask for permission can seem a little suffocating. To remedy this, in your budget, allocate a certain amount of money titled “me money” for each of you. This is an amount that can be spent on random, spur of the moment purchases that don’t need to be discussed with the other partner. Whether you want to buy a new tool for the garage, or purchase something nice to decorate your home, this “me money” can be used to give partners some breathing room and preserve a little autonomy in your relationship.
Money is the number one source of problems in relationships, but it doesn’t need to be. Work together with your spouse to help you both move towards financial stability and independence.