21 Mar

It’s time to have the talk. No, not “that” talk — the money talk. While love puts no limits on topics of conversation, if you’re constantly fighting about money, you might shy away from bringing it up. Financial conversations are notoriously troublesome in marriages, but they don’t have to be a major roadblock in your relationship. Follow these tips to learn how to stop fighting with your partner over money.  

Get on the same page

Disagreements over money are normal. But how you handle them can make or break your relationship. To start, you and your partner should get on the same page about your financial situation and future goals. Be transparent with each other, create individual financial bucket lists, and compare your goals to find common ground. 

Once you’ve determined your similar financial goals, create an inclusive budget to support them. Let’s say you both want to stop renting and finally buy a home. Your next step will be to figure out how much home you can afford. This is the perfect opportunity to practice your money love language. Remember, it’s important to listen to your partner to understand them, not to tee up your next comeback. Take time to evaluate your finances together.

Once you’ve gotten a firm grasp on how much money is coming in and how much you can reasonably spend every month, you can start to piece together your house-buying budget and start saving for your dream home. 

Attack debt together

But what if your money talks unearth debt? First things first: don’t panic, get strategic! Figuring out how to manage your debt will not only eliminate a huge (and maybe the hugest) stressor in your marriage, it will give you a shared goal to work toward. You’ll need to stay calm while discussing debt — acknowledging that changes need to be made at all is a good starting point.

Put it all out on the table. Whatever debt you have, write it out. Then strategize on paying it off. Revisit your budget and see where you can trim unnecessary spending, consider taking advantage of credit card balance transfers, or look into a debt consolidation loan. Go crazy paying off your debt! This may mean making short-term sacrifices for the long-term good of your financial future, but it’ll always be worth it. 

Make individual accountability a priority

Discussing every purchase you want to make with your partner can feel very restricting, especially if you find yourself having to defend a purchase your spouse doesn’t like. In a marriage, it’s important to have the freedom to buy what you want to buy, but you’ll need to understand that you’re accountable for your purchases.

Consider separate bank accounts to allow each of you to retain some financial independence. You can open a joint account to pay combined expenses like groceries or the car note. Sure, you’re a couple, but you still have individual wants and needs and deserve financial autonomy. As long as there is mutual respect, understanding, and individual accountability, there is less reason to fight over who spent the most last month.  

If you can’t agree on spending habits and financial goals, consider hiring a financial advisor to be a neutral, third-party voice.

When was the last time you heard someone say, “By the time I’m 65, I want to have a mountain of debt, no retirement fund, and an empty bank account”? Likely never. Through open communication, accountability, and compromise, you and your spouse can work together to build a solid financial future.

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