Conflicts among couples can arise about a variety of topics: children, chores, family and friends. But it’s financials that get the most attention during disputes. According to a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs, the number one touchiest topic in American households is money. Want to talk numbers without being at odds? Check out these tips for communicating with your partner about money.
Needs Versus Wants Remember that in love and money opposites attract. Spenders marry savers and savers marry spenders. A recent study shows that 58 percent of money fights involve differing opinions about needs versus wants. Keeping in mind that you and your partner are coming from different angles may help you see eye to eye.
Smaller Purchases are a Bigger Deal
One reason why money fights may be growing is because budgets are feeling pinched. Smaller expenditures are creating stress which gives couples more to fight about. If you’re the spender in the relationship keep in mind that the threshold may have shifted for your spouse.
The study found that three in ten adults have lied to their partner about money in order to avoid an argument. Some have hidden purchases, others have kept work bonuses a secret and others are withdrawing funds from joint bank accounts without their partner’s knowledge. Experts agree deceit is not the way to go. Instead commit to open communication even if it does create occasional conflict.
Hold Regular Budget Talks
Set aside a time each week, month or quarter to talk about finances. If it’s in the books you won’t be resorting to money talks when one of you has reached a boiling point. And make sure you’re scheduling your meeting at a reasonable hour—couples should avoid talking about money after midnight when tempers have a better shot at getting short.
Establish Some House Rules
Because you and your partner are probably very different when it comes to money it’s important to get on the same page. Set some ground rules when it comes to money. Examples include consulting each other whenever you spend more than $50, holding budget reviews every month and creating a dream fund for that trip you both want to take or that boat you want to buy. Guidelines can help give both of you parameters to live by that are within your mutual comfort zones.
Set Common Goals
What would you and your spouse do with $10,000? What would life look like with no credit card debt? Allow yourselves to dream and come up with common goals. This will solidify the fact that you’re on the same team, working for the same thing: financial success.
By Alison Storm
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