How To Settle Your Money Arguments At Home

Many families worry about their financial plan and whether or not they will run out of money.  Some families are living paycheck to paycheck and trying to figure out a better way to budget their monthly dollars.  However, money arguments are one of the leading causes about why couples ultimately split up.  According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis, 22% of all divorces are caused by money issues.  So, how do you stop those money arguments at home?

#1 The Dreaded Spender Saver Couple

It is important to try to understand your spouse’s money personality as we all have a unique way we think about money shaped often by how we were raised as a child.   The most critical item for a couple where you have one person who is very frugal and the other who can often be frivolous is to set concrete unified family financial goals.  This means really sitting down and figuring out the financial priorities you have for the next year, and also what you both want over the next 20 years.  Getting on the same page financially will reduce your money arguments.  If you can’t do this yourself, find a competent financial advisor to assist you in this process.

#2 You Don’t Feel Like You Have Any Teamwork At Home When It Comes To Money

Is the motto what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours, or do you have the philosophy that what’s ours is ours?  It may seem strange, but money often creates struggles over power and control especially when one spouse makes more money than the other creating the appearance that they should have more ‘say’ over the decision making in the family.  Full transparency between two partners is the most important part of the process.  The moment one spouse has a hidden bank account for their side fun spending or one spouse has a separate unannounced credit card that they are secretly spending on each month, then you have a real problem coming for your relationship.  I recommend that you have joint accounts for the joint financial goals and joint expenses, and still maintain some level of personal accounts to maintain some financial independence for the personal fun expenses you have each year.

#3 Nobody Wants To Be In Charge Of The Money

The reality is unless you turn the reins over to a Private CFO® for your family finances, someone has to take control of being the family CFO.  Whether that is the person that has more interest in running the money or it is the person who is more skilled, one spouse must know what is going on with the day to day money.   You really want to set yourself up with some sort of online financial aggregation system, so you can have a clean look at your net worth, your budget, and your investments.  Sit down quarterly with your spouse and review where you are at to make sure spending doesn’t get out of control.

#4 My Family Has More Money Than Your Family

If it is isn’t bad enough that you have deal with your own spouse and kids for money talks, what happens when you’re in laws start wielding their money power on your relationship?  While it is nice to get gifts from family members, you need to make sure you absolutely set boundaries and tell your family that there has to be ‘no strings attached’ with any money gifts.  If your in-laws agree to pay for a Disney Cruise, but they a) want to go on the cruise and b) use it as a negotiating chip to get more time than your family, be very careful about accepting the gifts because it can put a ton of strain on your relationship.

#5 The Blame Game

If you have a spouse or partner that you think has some sort of spending addiction (Amazon as of late), the worst thing in the world to do is accuse them of being irresponsible and start playing the blame game.  You should try to spend some time like any addiction to understand the why behind the behavior.  Does the spending make them feel good? Do they really get happy from the spending?  You should ask questions to get to the root of the cause.  If the spending is crippling your budget, see if you can come to an agreement to a ‘limit’ of what they can spend monthly to start.  This can help you gradually ease them off of the spending problem.

You can always e-mail me at ted@oxygenfinancial.net and I will be glad to play MoneyRef if you want me to assess and handle a money argument you are having at home.