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Money-Proof Your Relationship

I sat down to write this article with that commonly thrown about statistic, “money is the most common reason for divorce,” in mind.  I wanted to write about this topic because many of the couples I know do fight about their finances (they also fight about the proper time/place for toe nail clipping, but that’s a topic for a different day). 

When looking for some cold, hard facts to back me up, I found surprisingly few with definitive answers; actually, more like zero.  But I did find this helpful article at MSN Money, here’s a little snippet:

…Many couples fight about money rather than address deeper problems that may lie underneath.

“It’s always what the money represents: dependency, control, freedom, security, pleasure, self-worth,” said Mellan, a Washington D.C. therapist.

There you have it, money issues may not be the cause for a divorce, but they might be symptomatic of other issues that could. 

Money-proofing your relationship is a good exercise in what the British call “communication.”  Furthermore, when two people can get on track and work towards common goals, they become a force to be reckoned with.  Today, you and your spouse could be that force. 

Change the Way You Approach Family Finances

Make it a Joint Effort

In many relationships one person will automatically assume the roll of bookkeeper/financial dictator and the other will allow it either because they are disinterested or intimidated by money management.  The problem with this is that both of your futures, not just one, are involved when making financial decisions. 

There are two people with two sets of dreams and goals.  Both need to be involved to integrate two lives into one set of finances. 

Make Your Budget Work for the Both of You

Husband has always wanted an airplane, I knew this when I married him.  I for one never really cared about airplanes.  Being the main bookkeeper in the family, I could easily forget to transfer the monthly savings into the Airplane Fund; but that would be a pretty pissy thing to do. 

The person with the “power” has to use it for good, not for dream smashing.  You are a team, so both individual and joint goals are important

Forget About Even Stevens – Even Stevens Never Existed 

Husband eats way more food than I do.  I’ve accepted that.  Rather than me doubling my food consumption, and blowing up like a balloon, I make a little extra just for him

Food is one thing, ‘fun’ things are a little more difficult to let slide.  What if you had to double every expense just so that each of you could get something that you want?  This is a technique that parents use to keep their children from fighting.  Are you two children (hopefully not considering you’re in a relationship)?  I didn’t think so.  Find a way to work it out and share or nobody gets any toys. 

Make a Game Plan TOGETHER

Figure Out Your Money Attitudes

Both of you need to know and understand where the other person is coming from so that you can plan your finances in a way in which you are both comfortable.  According to MoneyHabitudes there are 6 different money attitudes:

Security:  Money helps you feel safe and secure.

Status:  Money helps you create a positive image.

Selfless:  Money helps you feel good by giving to others.

Free Spirit:  Money is not a priority for your carefree lifestyle.

Targeted Goals:  Money helps you achieve your goals.

Spontaneous:  Money encourages you to enjoy the moment.

Clearly this needs to be done together, otherwise the targeted goals person (me) might assume that the spontaneous person (Husband) would also love to invest in CD’s rather than go on a vacation (hypothetically; no really, hypothetically). 


Decide How You Will Set Up Your Accounts

There are about 1,000,000 x infiniti ways to set up your banking.  This means there is bound to be one that is just right for you as a couple. 

Some people like to have separate everything where each person pays a certain bill.  Some people, like Husband and I, like to have household accounts for bills and separate allowance accounts. 

Decide what you want together and modify it together.  Nothing will plant the seeds of resentment like when you can’t make a withdrawal from the ATM because your spouse thought it would be a good idea to move the money around without telling you first. 


Discuss Both of Your Concerns

There are so many money related issues that people fight about in their relationships:

  • One person having control over all of the money

  • One person spending too much money

  • One person not contributing enough to the family finances

    Until these issues are out in the open, they cannot be addressed.  Put them out in the open.  Address them.  Then you can move past them and have a stronger relationship and a stronger financial position. 

  • Article publié pour la première fois le 01/09/2010

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