If you’ve ever bickered or fought with your partner about money, you’re not alone. Investopedia says that it’s the most common causes of conflict, and Businesswire says it’s the second leading cause of divorce (next only to infidelity).
However, the problem isn’t money, but how couples communicate with each other about money. Money is not the root of all evil. It puts food on the table, sends kids to school, and buys comfort and leisure. The challenge is to learn how to discuss and manage money as a couple in a clear, loving way. Here are some simple tips to help you become more open to discuss money without any fights.
Be aware of each other’s Money Biases/Background
We all grew up with biases that affect the way we feel about money and react to financial conflicts.
Some people aren’t comfortable with talking about money. Maybe you were taught that it was not “polite” to ask questions about it, or your parents avoided discussing it in front of you.
Others have a different philosophy about what to do with extra money. Were your parents kuripot or galante? Did you experience financial struggles while growing up? This could either make you very frugal or cause you to shop more, because you want to make up for what you didn’t have in your childhood.
To avoid miscommunication, try to understand where you and your partner are coming from. This can help you choose your words carefully, and arrive at a better compromise.
Take a mindset of one
You share a life, home, and family; you also share assets and financial. Having this mindset will make you feel at ease about bringing money matters to the table. Don’t wait until a crisis to talk about money, either! A survey by financial education company Ramsey Solutions found that 87% of couples who feel that they have a great marriage say that they and their spouse work on their money goals together.
Set a Money Date
My husband and I scheduled a date with an objective to discuss our financial status, expenses, short and long-term goals, and how to grow our money for our children’s future and our retirement. Since I am more vocal, and he is the conservative type when it comes to discussing about money, I took the lead. I set the Money Date two weeks ahead, then reminded him of the date and the objectives as the day approached.
I encourage couples to have this important talk at the start of the year, so you can see which areas where you can improve your financial management.
Find the leaks
Do you ever wonder, “Where did the money go? Why are we overspending, or why haven’t we been able to save a lot?” To find out, sit down with your spouse and compute:
- Fixed Income and bonuses (less deductions)
- Fixed Monthly Expenses
- Major Expenses
If you’re in a deficit (more expenses than income), look at where you can save, and talk about how you plan to avoid overspending. For example, do you want to use a money or a budgeting app where you track all your expenses?
Set short-term and long-term goals
After listing down and computing together, write down your short and long-term goals and plan how you’d be able to achieve them together as a couple. You could either set up a joint savings account, or agree to funnel your savings into different investment tools.
The key to a light and harmonious discussion and planning is to always listen and to compromise. This is not a contest to see whose idea is better, or who plans more efficiently. Remember the earlier point: have a mindset of ONE. If your plan didn’t work, move on and never play the blame game.
Money isn’t evil, and if you handle it well as a couple, money can help you and your family enjoy life. In money matters, two heads and hearts are better especially when you want it to grow for your family’s future.
About The Writer
Louise F. Santos is a mom of three boys from Manila. She has been blogging at www.mommypracticality.com for almost 8 years. She’s also a freelance multimedia service provider, and hosts or organizes events, and digital or PR campaigns. She also sings in a band, appears in TV and digital ads, and is a voice over talent. Aside from her blog, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.