Managing Money Disagreements in Your Relationship

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How to Handle Conflicts about Money with Your Partner

How to Handle Conflicts about Money with Your Partner

Disputes about money are cited as one of the leading causes of divorce, so if you’re in a committed relationship, learning to manage those disagreements is important. Deciding where to spend (or not to spend) your cash can be emotionally charged, so before you bring up the subject, make sure you’re in the right frame of mind. The goal is to compromise so that both of you walk away happy.

Stop and plan for later.

Fighting about an issue isn’t going to resolve it. Instead, put an end to the argument before it goes too far, and ask if you can discuss the topic at a later date when you’ve both had time to cool off.

Organize your thoughts in advance.

Suggest that you both put your financial plans down on paper so you’re able to better explain your point-of-view. Write down any major points you would like to discuss, and even create a general strategy for your financial future, including goals such as buying a house or saving for retirement.

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Set some ground rules.

  • No shouting; use a normal speaking tone.
  • Take a moment to think before talking. You’ll be less likely to say something you regret.
  • Avoid personal attacks. Instead, try to use “I” statements as much as possible.
  • Take a break if things get heated. You can come back to it later.

 

Keep an open mind.

When it’s time for the discussion, don’t go in there with the idea of “winning.” Forcing your plan on your significant other will only lead to more disagreements in the future. Instead review both plans and find ways that you can merge them into one plan that works for both of you.

Be willing to compromise.

Yes, buying the latest electronic gadget as soon as it hits the market may not make sense to you, but consider that your significant other might not understand why you need so many shoes. Instead, consider setting “fun” budgets for each of you, so that there won’t be any resentment over discretionary purchases. You can even have separate checking accounts for those “fun” funds and one joint one for paying the bills to make it easier to track how much money you are spending. That little bit of freedom can go a long way toward preventing future disagreements.

Make sure both of you are “in the know.”

Sometimes one partner is in charge of keeping track of the finances or paying the bills. That’s okay, but you should both be aware of what money is coming in and where it is going. Otherwise, it can create problems because one person isn’t aware of the bigger picture.

Get the new plan down on paper.

When you come to a decision, write it down. When you’re done, be sure that both of you are okay with everything on that paper. It should include financial goals as well as a general household budget. Discuss where you see yourselves in five to 10 years, and how you can plan now to make those dreams a reality.

Talk to a financial advisor together.

If you’re having trouble agreeing on the budget portion of the plan, that’s okay. Instead, focus on getting a list of financial goals down on paper and listing them in order of priority. Then visit a professional who can help guide both of you to the correct budget to make it happen. Having a knowledgeable third party often helps to put things in perspective.

Revisit the plan.

Make a point to discuss your budget at least once a year and when a major life change occurs, such as a new job, job loss, a new child, or the purchase of a home. Things change, and your financial plans need to change with them.

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