Monday, May 22, 2017

According to a Money Magazine poll of married couples over age 25 with household incomes of $50,000 or more, 70 percent of couples argue about money more than other topics. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid common trip wires and help defuse money arguments before they blow up.

Money talks. Personalities, childhood experiences, spending and lifestyle habits all create differences in attitudes and behavior with money. Talk about these differences openly to deepen understanding.

No secrets. The most common money secrets among couples include hiding cash, minor purchases and bills, as well as setting up secret bank accounts or credit cards. Keeping secrets creates stress. Maintain transparency to keep your relationship healthy.

Budget building. Budgeting -- and sticking to the budget -- is one of the best ways to prevent arguments and avoid too much debt. Since an agreed-upon budget is an objective measurement, budgeting can help establish a financial foundation, foster teamwork, promote living within your means and create goals. Ease the process with budgeting tools and apps.

Make allowances. Like budgeting, joint bank accounts foster openness and teamwork. But sharing every penny, especially when you have different spending habits, can cause problems. Budgeting a little every month for each person to spend on "whatever" promotes a sense of personal freedom.

Manage together. Even though one partner may be inclined to handle the finances, sharing the responsibility helps avoid misunderstandings and mistrust. More importantly, if an illness or death occurs in a couple, the remaining partner is fully aware of how the finances are managed.

Get advice. The perspective of a professional financial advisor or coach can help you set realistic goals, educate on options, promote collaboration, diffuse potentially tense conversations and often save you money in the long run.

Everyone has a unique way of looking at money, so remember to see discussions as an ongoing opportunity to deepen your perspective about each other and your relationship, not as an opportunity to prove a point.

Sources: Reader's Digest, Psychology Today