Are you always fighting about money with your partner? It’s a common argument that’s been occurring since women became liberated enough to have jobs and the freedom to make cash for themselves. Finances can make or break a marriage, but you don’t have to allow it to define your union.
Who can forget the classic show from the 1950’s I Love Lucy? Everyone loved this redhead because of her fiery and tenacious nature and her classic schemes with her best friend, Ethel. While Lucy was a force to be reckoned with, one thing that she seemed to have a problem with was money.
It wasn’t uncommon for her or Ricky to disagree because she overdrew her checking account or spent lots of cash on frivolous purchases. It seemed she always had some explaining to do for keeping things from her husband about their finances.
Times have certainly evolved since that period. Women go to work, hold down full-time careers, and make just as much money as men. It’s only natural that they want to spend money and have a say in the household finances.
Ways to Stop Fighting with Your Partner About Money
Did you know that fighting about money is one of the most common arguments that couples have today? A study found that three-quarters of the American population is stressed about finances, so it’s only natural that it would roll over into their private lives.
Writer and counselor Melody Wilding, LMSW, concurs, citing arguments over finances, says it is “one of the biggest sources of relationship problems — and it can be the toughest to resolve.”
So how can you stop all the fighting about money and quit putting so much stress on you and your significant other? Here are a few ways to help.
1. Pay the Bills Together
In past decades, one person handled all the bills, and the other person didn’t know what was going on. Today’s couples pay the bills together.
When everyone works together, there is no reason for an argument because someone didn’t know what was going on. Transparency is the key to keeping fights to a minimum. If one person does handle things, then they should always keep their partner in the loop.
2. Work from A Budget
Many people find themselves fighting about money because they are spending more than they can pay. Create a budget and live within those means. Try to make the budget realistic so that there is no constant need to borrow from one pot to fill the other.
When you can clearly see what is coming in and going out, it can help put spending into proportion.
3. Hold Financial Meetings
Holding a financial meeting with your partner isn’t high on anyone’s list of things to do, but it’s an essential part of managing finances. You can make projections on your bills for the next year, but they will change by next week.
There are always tons of unforeseen financial events that will pop up, and you must have a reserve and a plan on how to handle them. Keeping both of you in the loop will strengthen your union and keep you from fighting about money.
4. Make Sure Each Person Has A Spending Allowance
It’s not uncommon for one person to hog all the money while the other gets in trouble for buying a burger on the way home from work. There must be an equal amount of money that is allotted for spending by each person. If you work hard and are responsible, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little treat now and then.
5. Discuss All Major Purchases
You’re at home preparing dinner, and you get a call from the dealership. Your husband is there buying a new car. You had no clue that he would trade in his old vehicle, so you are instantly angered by this transaction.
The dealership needs you to come down and sign because he couldn’t get the car without your income on the application. Do you see how a scenario like this can cause a significant issue? Not only was there no communication about the car, but there was nothing said about the financial preparations to make such a purchase.
While you don’t have to discuss every little thing you buy, you should at least limit the dollar amount on items that need both parties’ approval. Realistically, any purchase over $200 should be discussed. When it comes to buying houses, cars, boats, or recreational vehicles, then it’s a given that both must approve.
6. Use A Financial Software Program
Gone are the days of using an old-fashioned ledger and a pencil to keep track of all your expenses. You need a system to make things work. A good accounting program can help you to stay organized.
These programs also allow you to print reports so that the other person can feel involved. Periodically, give your spouse reports to see how much is going to groceries and gasoline, and everything else you spend. There will be less fighting about money when everyone is on the same page, plus having these reports can help you put your spending in check.
7. Skip the Parent-Child Dynamic
It’s both of your money, and one person doesn’t have to scold or punish the other one for overspending. When you create a parent-child dynamic, then you are setting yourself up for some significant arguments. Did you know that financial problems are the second most common reason for divorce?
8. Switch Sides
It’s easy to be the dictator and lay down the law regarding finances. However, it would help if you switched sides occasionally to see how the other person feels. Do you seem like a strong arm that is a bully where finances are concerned?
If you wonder why there is so much fighting about money, then you should mentally switch sides to see how you can change things.
9. Talk to a Financial Advisor
Talking to a financial adviser is a great way to start any union. You can lay out the incoming versus the outgoing, and they will tell you what your situation looks like. You want to save for retirement, vacation, and have some reserves for a few investments.
Getting an expert’s opinion is valuable, especially when you’re starting as a couple.
10. Use Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Though it was often found offensive to make such agreements, these financial documents have become commonplace. Counselors know that money problem also end relationships. Since 41 percent of all first marriages and 60 percent of all second marriages end in divorce, you should prepare. These documents give couples a reason to lay the finances on the table.
Doing this before a wedding or partnership is essential so that everyone is clear on financial standings and obligations before and after the union.
11. Use Automation
If you want to fight less, then you should use automated services for bill pay and such. Did you know that most banks and lenders offer automatic payments for free? When you have things prescheduled, you don’t have to worry about who is paying what and what didn’t get paid. Why mess with something when you can let the power of automation take control?
12. Don’t Keep Things From Each Other
One of the biggest reasons why people fight about money is that they keep things from each other. We’re not talking about $100s here or there as some people hide credit cards or spending problems and drive the other person in debt with them. When you’re married, your credit can be enhanced or broken by your spouse.
When you apply for joint credit, not only does the amount you finance go against your debt-to-ratio, but it also affects your payment history. Many people have their credit scores tank when the other party starts doing things without their knowledge. If you want to keep the fighting to a minimum, you must be transparent about your spending habits and accounts.
Final Thoughts on Arguments Regarding Money
When it comes to explosive arguments, finances hold the top position among couples. Other than infidelity, nothing can bring a couple closer to the brink of ruin than money. In any union, transparency is the best policy.
Since it takes two parties working to make ends meet, both must have a say in the household finances. If one person handles the bills, the other person should at least be allowed to know what’s going on. It’s essential to have small financial meetings each week so that everyone knows where you stand with money.
Never make significant purchases without talking to one another, and always stay on a budget. While money is challenging to manage, both parties have some funds to buy the things they want. It’s no fun to work 40 plus hours a week and not even be able to take yourself out for a treat on occasion.
If you want your union to be happy and blessed, then you will do everything in your power to prevent fighting about money. When you openly communicate with each other about your finances, you can work together and not against one another regarding your bills.