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Fighting Over Money? Try These 5 Strategies.
Money is the leading cause of disagreements in many relationships. Sharing financial responsibilities, agreeing on spending habits, working to pay down excessive debt and saving for common goals can lead to stress and resentment. But there is hope! If you’re tired of fighting over money, check out these five approaches to avoiding money fights with your loved ones.
Did you know that money is the number one cause of conflict among couples? A survey by The Harris Poll1 found that money caused more tension and arguments than any other stressors for married couples and people in serious relationships. Money can also cause fights between older parents and their adult children, and young parents and their children. When you’re sharing financial responsibilities, or trying to help your parent or child better manage their money, it can be challenging to stop fighting over money.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent money from ruining an otherwise healthy relationship. Below, we’ve outlined tips and strategies to help you stop fighting over money.
What are the Most Common Money Issues among Couples?
Money issues will vary by couple, but some of the most common include the following:
- Spending habits. It’s rare to find two people who have identical spending habits. To one partner, a purchase can be considered totally reasonable, while to the other, the exact same item is an unnecessary indulgence.
- Income levels. This can also be a sticky topic for couples, especially when one partner is earning a lot more than the other or one partner isn’t earning an income.
- Past and current debts. According to a 2018 study2, more than half of surveyed couples started off married life in the red. To make matters worse, 40% of indebted couples acknowledged that the debt had a negative impact on their relationship.
- Savings. Live for today or pinch pennies now so you can live it up tomorrow? Couples don’t always agree on which strategy to embrace.
Tips for Avoiding Money Fights
Disagreements over finances are inevitable, but you can take steps to minimize the impact on your relationships. Here are some strategies to help you stop fighting over money:
- Divide financial responsibilities upfront. A clear delineation of money responsibilities will help partners avoid confusion about their role. When both partners know who is in charge of paying the bills, overseeing the budget or working on investments, there’s less room for arguments and tension.
- Open a joint account for shared goals. An account opened with the sole purpose of holding money for household bills or for funding a long-term goal can help smooth tensions that may arise over these expenses. You may also want to open solo accounts for each partner to be used as “just for me” money. This will allow for controlled, but autonomous spending.
- Schedule weekly money talks. During these conversations, cover topics like the monthly budget, big-ticket items you’ve recently purchased or plan on purchasing in the near future, outstanding bills that need to be paid and any other money topics you’d like to discuss with your partner. You may want to schedule weekly or monthly money talks with the entire family as well.
- Make financial education a family priority. A great way to prevent money fights within your family is to keep learning about personal finance yourself and teach your children financial literacy from an early age. You can use age-appropriate books, articles and podcasts to help you along. By teaching your kids about money, they will have realistic expectations, spend more responsibly and feel empowered.
- Set clear financial goals. Create shared money goals for the entire family to help everyone stay on budget and remember to save. The long-term goal can be anything from saving up for a house to funding a dream family vacation.
Tip: It’s a good idea to swap responsibilities from time to time, so one partner doesn’t get overwhelmed or feel completely out of the loop.
It isn’t easy to share financial responsibilities without letting money talks turn into arguments, but it can be done! If money is creating more stress than it should in your relationships, try some of these strategies and look for other ways to create common ground and find financial peace.