Marital arguments about money have been going on since the invention of money. While all arguments can take their toll, disagreements over finances can be particularly distressing. Studies show that money issues are among the leading causes of divorce! This is a worthwhile subject to get under control. Not only will your finances improve, but your marriage will strengthen, too.
1. Agree on a budget. Many couples don’t have a budget, but a budget is useful for everyone, even billionaires. If you can both agree on a spending plan, many potential arguments can be avoided. After all, if someone is outspending the budget, it’s difficult to argue about fault.
2. Be completely open. Many couples are exactly sure how much money their spouse is making. Many more spouses are in the dark about their partner’s debt and credit history. It’s not always easy, but a full financial disclosure can prevent many disagreements.
3. Set financial goals together. If you’re both working toward the same things, it will bring you closer together. Partnership and marriage go hand in hand. Sharing a vision is an effective way of limiting arguments.
4. Deal with discrepancies in pay. In most cases, one spouse has a greater salary than the other. Splitting the bills 50:50 might be fair in one context, but it can also create resentment. One option is to pay the bills relative to the salaries. So, if one person is making $100k, and the other is making $50k, the bills would be split 2/3 and 1/3.
5. Deal with discrepancies in expenses and debt. If one spouse has child support payments to make or a large amount of student loan debt, the other might want to consider making adjustments for this when dealing with the bills. Partners help each other out. If you want to share in the windfalls, it’s only fair to share with the less agreeable things, too.
6. Handle disagreements in a healthy manner. Disagreements will occur, no matter how good the intentions. It’s important to keep the discussion centered on behaviors and not people. There’s a difference between, “This purchase wasn’t within our budget” and “You ruined our budget.”
Minimizing money-related arguments is a great way to strengthen a marriage. It’s also a great way to get your finances under control. Many of the steps involved will encourage healthy finances. Protect your marriage and do what’s necessary to eliminate money arguments.