10 Steps to Stop Fighting about Money with Your Spouse
Fighting about money is the number one reason why people get divorced in America. If you can get on the same financial page as your spouse, then you are significantly more likely to stay together for the long term. But, how do you go about reducing the number of episodes where you’re fighting about money? Well, there’s no “magic recipe,” but here are 10 steps you can take to prevent money fights with your spouse.
1. Work together
Spouses have to work together! It’s not “my money” and “their money.” It’s “OUR money”! You’ve got to give your spouse a chance to express their dreams.
All personal finance starts by talking about behavioral finance and communication. It’s not just about the investments! If you’re not pulling in the same direction as your spouse, you’ll definitely be pulling yourselves apart.
2. Prioritize the other person’s goals
When you don’t prioritize the other person’s goals and dreams, it breeds resentment. You need to share your hopes and dreams with your spouse. BOTH spouses need to be equally heard and equally prioritized in the decision-making process.
3. Designate a “household CFO”
One person in the relationship can be the “household CFO.” That person manages the mechanics of the budget, bills, and investments, but both spouses have to have equal priority.
4. Combine everything!
Couples should combine everything! You need a joint checking account, combined finances, and both of you own everything together. That includes debt!
Banking should be the most simplistic part of your finances.
Consider having separate accounts earmarked for saving for specific goals. Have different accounts for different goals, but combine everything.
5. Have a “fun money” account
Consider having separate accounts for “fun money” for each spouse. That way, you can have some money that is for whatever you want, but you still have joint accounts on everything.
6. Budget together for at least six months
I recommend doing the budget process together for the first six months. That way, you can get closer to your spouse and spare yourself a LOT of fights and disagreements. It helps to get you in the habit of including both partners in all aspects of decision-making.
7. Money dates
You are one family! You need to be in agreement on all financial issues. Each spouse can have different goals, but have a conversation about them! Go on a “money date” periodically so you are on the same page about money.
The weekly or monthly “money dates” need to be short and sweet, just enough to get you through the week or month ahead, limit impulse buying, and stay on track. Every few months or so, have a separate “money date” that allows you to discuss more long-term goals.
8. Know your current financial status
When your goals aren’t aligned, it’s often because you don’t actually understand what your current status is. If you don’t know how much money you need to retire, you probably don’t know what your current spending rate is.
Figure out what your current level of debt, savings, and insurance coverage is. The only way to make a plan for reaching your financial goals is to know where you’re starting.
9. Keep open lines of communication
If you’re not married yet, start having these money conversations now!!! Keep open lines of communication. Don’t hide things from your future spouse.
Be receptive to the other person’s fears, apprehensions, goals, and dreams. Acknowledge each person’s feelings and open yourself up to having a vulnerable conversation.
10. Teach your kids early
Teach these subjects to your kids early and you’ll set them up for success in your life. You’ll derail your financial plan if your kids don’t grow up and become financially independent.
Getting on the same financial page as your spouse is the best way to quit fighting about money. Fighting about money isn’t something you’re likely to eliminate 100%, but if you can reduce it to near zero and turn fights into discussions, you’ll have a stronger, healthier relationship.
No one is immune to this challenge. Fighting about money is exceedingly common, and it takes uncommon will to avoid. These 10 steps will help get you started!
- Listen to the companion podcast episode with Ryan Inman.
- What to Do if You Want to Retire with Enough Money
- Why are teachers more likely than physicians to become millionaires?
- You Can’t Afford to Not Be Good with Your Money
Please leave a comment below! What’s your secret to good money conversations in your relationship? How do you avoid fighting about money?
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