Money affects marriage in a big way and a survey by Money Magazine shows just that, concluding that 70 percent of couples argue over finances more than chores, sex, snoring, togetherness and what’s for dinner. Couples in the study cited frivolous purchases, household budgeting and credit card debt as the biggest sources of friction. Such issues don’t just lead to squabbles, either; 56 percent of divorced spouses say financial strains contributed to the split.
From meshing your spending personalities to creating a secure financial future, focusing on money as a couple early in the relationship can pave the way to a happily ever after. Since money can often feel like a sensitive and personal issue, it’s important to know when and how to address the topic. Read on for tips to approach the money talk and tricks to avoid fighting over your financial issues.
HAVE THE MONEY TALK EARLY.
Communication is crucial, especially when it comes to finances. Couples should start talking about money when their relationship goes from casual to committed. Discuss future life goals (both short-term and long-term); learn savings and spending styles; find out your partner’s family’s attitude toward money; and even discuss debt balances. Figuring out where you two share common values and where you are on opposite sides of the spectrum will alleviate tension while helping you eventually align your financial views.
WORK TOWARD A SHARED GOAL.
Determine a financial go you both share — like saving for a vacation or down payment on a home — to help you and your partner understand the purpose of a household budget. Take steps to save money on everyday purchases, discovering ways to trim everyday spending which such tools as ShopSavvy for price comparison, or Coupon Sherpa for in-store savings. The spendthrift can learn from the savvy spender how to avoid unnecessary purchases, while the savvy spender can learn how to loosen up and give in to intimacy-building splurges, like a monthly dinner date or a romantic weekend escape.
PLAN MONEY DATES.
Set a money date once a month or quarter to review your budget, savings goals, monthly bills and investments. Make any adjustments as needed based on lifestyle and new life circumstances like having a baby or buying a house. This is also a good time to bring up money issues that have been bothering you, like if your partner spent too much on entertainment or clothing this past month. Instead of blowing up in the heat of the moment, setting aside time can alleviate tension.
SET SPENDING RULES.
While it’s important to not pick apart every dollar that each other spends, setting rules for large purchases prevents impulse buys of unnecessary items and keeps you on the same page. Depending on your budget, set this rule at $100 or $200. All purchases above that figure must be discussed together.
DON’T IGNORE DEBT.
Couples often neglect to share information about their debts, due to the partner in debt feeling embarrassed or thinking it’s not their partner’s business. However, when you tie the knot, you’re also tying the other person into your financial issues so it’s important to put it all out on the table. Plus, for future borrowing needs, banks and lenders may pull credit reports and credit histories of both spouses, so it’s important to understand one another’s current debt and credit situations. Review each others scores for free using MyLendingTree.com where you can also gain insight into each other’s credit profile and find ways to improve and save money.
Watch the complete interview here:
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer finance expert who is passionate about helping Americans find simple ways to save money. As a sought after expert on personal finance and smart shopping, Andrea regularly contributes to national news stories and has been featured on Today, Good Morning America, Dr. OZ, CNN, MSNBC, FOX & Friends, ABC World News, Inside Edition and many more. Follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice.