By Cindy Morus, Certified Financial Recovery Counselor
Money can wreck a relationship. In fact, how they spend, save, and account for money is one of the leading sources of disagreements between couples. In almost every study, money ranks as the first or second most argued-about topic for couples and partners.
If you currently suffer from “Marital Money Chaos©” you can follow these secrets and achieve more financial success together than you ever could have dreamed. If the two of you can improve your relationship with money, you will also improve your marriage. Money can be romantic!
Secret #1: Know your spending style and your partners’
How many of you are married to your “Financial Soul Mate”?
The most common are spending styles are Spenders and Savers but there are also the Procrastinators/Avoiders/Deal with it Tomorrow types and the Money Meek/Humble/ personalities.
What are the benefits/good things about each style? What are the things you call your partner when you fight about money?
Find ways in which you can take advantage of your personality strengths and minimize the weaknesses of that style. In the best possible scenario, you will both acknowledge your differences and move to the middle.
Secret #2: Values Driven Spending
Values are different than goals
Values: Creativity, Freedom, Friendship, Financial Security
Goals: Be debt free, get a new car, and give more to charity
Take some time to choose your top 5 values and define each of them in your own words. Share the definitions and use them to understand your partner and what is important to them. If your partner’s money behavior confuses you, ask which value they are satisfying. They may be doing their best, but their definition is different than yours. If you both use the same value word but have different meanings, you’ll have conflict.
Secret #3: Have regular Money Meetings or Money Dates!
How many of you think that money is romantic? Actually, since couples fight more about money than anything else (it is estimated that 80% of divorces are the result of money disagreements), having an honest talk about household finances might be better for your relationship than anything else you can do! Financial well-being and peace of mind are certainly romantic!
It doesn’t matter how much money people have, money is a daily event. That increases the chance of it triggering arguments and tension. Use regular meetings as a way to avoid conflict
Secret #4: Enjoy the present and save for the future
Everyone needs to have their own play money. Ideally 5-10% of your family’s income should be set aside for play. What’s the use of working every day if you don’t get to spend some money on play?
Secret #5: Have a needs/wish list for each person and for the family
We all have things we wish we had and those we need to purchase. Check your list on a regular basis so your subconscious can focus on other things. It’s also great fun to check off the things you take care of. Great place to go to find out how to spend bonuses or other windfalls.
Secret #6: Divide financial responsibilities between partners
Focus on each person’s skills, interests and availability rather than relying on out-dated gender stereotypes or how much money one partner makes. Share what’s going on with your partner during your monthly meetings and make big decisions together.
Secret #7: Each person has some money they do not have to account for/
This is probably one of the MOST important things you can do for your relationship. No grown up likes to have to ask for an allowance or justify every little expenditure they make. Determine in advance how much money each person can “do with what they will” and no questions asked. Savers can save, spenders can spend, procrastinators can leave it in a jar and the money meek can feel free to give it all away.
Secret #8: Take action, one step at a time
I can guarantee that you will save $1000 1 year from today if you put away just $2.74 per day. Where can you find $2.74 each and every day? Do the same with larger goals. If you want to go on a $2000 vacation next year, save $6 per day.
Secret #9: Learn something about money and finances every day
There are lots of good resources out there – websites, books, magazines, classes. You can start at my website: cindymorus.com where I have articles, calculators, book reviews and teleclass schedules.
Secret #10: Plan your spending and spend your plan
I know, no one likes the “B” word (I call them spending plans) because they feel restrictive. Instead, plan your spending ahead of time and give yourself permission to spend money in certain areas and get creative about the areas where you choose to spend less. When we feel like “going out” at our house, we have “no silverware dinner” of ribs, french-fries and artichokes. We spend the time enjoying ourselves and creating memories without spending a lot of money. I bet you can do the same!
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