No matter how someone tries to turn it around, money is really difficult to talk about for most people. You would think it would be easier to get married or settle down with someone you love, but for many couples, it doesn't. In fact, money is one of the most common causes of divorce in America.
There are many reasons couples argue about money – here are three that I see a lot:
Your values do not match: do you and your partner have different values? Ultimately, values are responsible for driving your behavior … including your spending behavior. If you and your partner value different things, it can lead to arguments about what money is being spent on. If you don't think you share similar values, don't panic because there is a way around it and it is more than likely that you have at least one or two values in common.
Income inequality: we need to consider the gender pay gap, which suggests that women tend to make less money than men. For heterosexual couples, this can lead to income disparities depending on the organization of their financial situation and system. There are also women who make more money than their husbands. Remember that traditional society can make men feel vulnerable in this situation as well.
Financial infidelity: yes it is a thing! Keeping their finances away from their partner can take a toll on the relationship. As a military spouse, I can't tell you how many women have opened up to me because their husbands control all of their finances. What happens most often with these women is that they stay home. They have no money, so they are financially dependent on their husbands. This is not uncommon outside of the military either. In the short term, much of the stress falls on the partner who may be hiding shopping. In the long run, this can cause significant stress for the marriage and the partner who is kept in the dark.
💡SOLUTION: MONEY DATA! 💡
Resolving money conflicts, like other conflicts, requires both partners to think and act rationally. Arguments are usually associated with a lot of emotions. Therefore, you should make sure that you and your partner approach the solution with a calm attitude. I recommend planning a money appointment! Here are seven tips to make sure yours are successful:
Tip 1: get your partner to agree. This will probably be the hardest part of making your money a success. If you are concerned that your partner will deny your request, consider looking at it from a target perspective. Here is an example of what I mean:
"Hi Markus, I have thought a lot about our next 5 to 10 years together and would really appreciate it if we could sit down and talk about each of our goals. I hope we can find out how we can plan and prepare for our future financially can to make sure we're both on one side. "
Tip 2: make it fun! Create the environment of a real date. Order something to take away or cook a nice meal, enjoy wine or your favorite cocktail, light candles … oh, and don't skip dessert!
Tip 3: prepare yourself. Have your Mint app or other financial tool handy to keep track of your finances. Also, determine how long you want your money date to be. Pro tip: Allow around 1.5 to 2 hours for this first one. The more money data you have, the less time you may need.
Tip 4: start with goals. Make the conversation easier for yourself by understanding what is most important to each of you. Your goals reflect one or more of your values. You can quickly see where you may or may not be facing. If there is a common goal I would recommend delving into this topic first before delving into the goals that are mismatched. Here are the big buckets that should be covered:
Family / children
Tip 5: Talk about your financial system. This is really important. I asked my father-in-law – a financial advisor – how best to organize finances when you are married. Here is the system he (and many other experts I've spoken to) recommended:
Step 1: Set up a joint bank account where all sources of income go to the joint account. This account acts as your "home base".
Step 2: Set up two additional accounts: one for you and one for your partner. There are many different terms for these individual accounts, but essentially they function as a "fun money" account for each affiliate. Agree on an amount each affiliate will receive each month for "fun money" purchases and set up automatic deposits from your "home base" account. Ideally, you want to keep this value for "fun money" the same. However, this doesn't always work for some couples when spending a lot more on recreational items. Do your best to calmly negotiate what you think is fair. I can't even express how great this setup is – especially if you tend to argue about misaligned value purchases.
Step 3: Your "home base" also serves as the account from which all of your bills and savings come. I recommend setting up automatic payments for all of your monthly bills in addition to automatically depositing into a savings account. Pro tip: try a high-yield savings account to earn more interest than the standard bank and save faster for your goals!
Tip 6: manage your expectations. It's helpful to remember that the two of you will experiment with it. Be flexible and plan for mistakes to occur. Keep doing your best to have compassion for one another as money (and life!) Can be very stressful.
Tip 7: Pick a day for your next money date. It is important to hold yourself accountable in order to make further progress together. End the date night by marking your calendars with your next money date!
Cant wait to hear how your money date goes! Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Jackie Porter (4 posts)
Jackie Porter, M.S. is a behavioral scientist at Intuit and previously a writer for Intuit's Mint and Turbo products. She earns her PsyD in psychology and is a health and fitness fanatic.