How To Stop Arguing About Money
In the early 2000’s, a statistic begin to cycle citing that the number one cause of divorce was Money, and it’s just not factual. While financial challenges made the the list, what tops the list for divorce in America is infidelity. Ouch! So, now that we have that misnormer out of the way, let’s tackle what many of my clients come to me for: How To Stop Arguing About Money. The arguments ARE often linked to what amounts to financial infidelity.
What I find in common with the couples that I assist with creating a healthier relationship with their shared money is not the lack of money, but being on the same page about how to allocate it. So, after years of both partnering in a marriage of a decade with my husband, and working with clients; I’ve learned a few things that are effective in minimizing money arguments AND increasing your chances of being wealthier.
It is very important to me for Married couples to get the Money conversation right because when they do, they increase their chances of becoming four times wealthier than their divorced and single peers. Not only do married couples have the benefit of combining their income and sharing expenses, but they also have the ability to divide up responsibilities in ways that work in their financial favor.
That said, here are some ways that we can stop arguing about Money and instead use that time to make more of it and share it in ways that allow us to build a positive financial legacy.
That’s the easiest way to put an end to marital money mayhem. I have worked with couples that hide their credit scores from each other… Promised to spend $300 on a child’s birthday party, but instead spend $1,000… I even work with couples that financially bully their spouses into vacation. Face it, no one is perfect… Financially or otherwise. The consequence to not confronting the truth about that hidden credit card debt, or that time you lost that bet you thought was going to give you a $1,000 gain, but instead put you in the negative; is that you have to keep up the financial facade. Why play second to a financial facade when you could just come clean about your impulsive spending and begin creating some habits that could really lead you and your mate to real wealth?
Extend Financial Forgiveness
Financial infidelity has more lasting impact than leaving the toilet seat up, or eating the last chicken wing; but if we are honest, it flexes that same forgiveness muscle. For me and my house, forgiveness means to release all prior animosity and anger, then create new agreements that work. If you are choosing to allow your marriage to out live the financial transgression, then you owe it to yourself to create new habits. For example, if you know that you have been historically late when paying bills then assign that responsibility to your partner. If you know that you are prone to dip into the shared savings account, then disconnect all of your access to the funds. I did not say relinquish ownership to the shared savings account, I suggested that you disconnect your checking account that allows you to transfer funds from your savings account.
If you choose to hold on to the hardship without creating better habits, it is likely that your hardships will seep into other areas. For me it is easier to change my mind, than to change my mate any day. So I voice my frustrations, and then move quickly to identify a solution.
Create Better Plans
In my experience most financial problems stem from not having real or solid financial plans. Honestly, if you do not have your money GOing towards a GOal, you will hold on to less and less of it. I mean why not spend all of your extra money on eating out or plan yet another girl’s trip if the money is there and there is no real assignment for the money. So, create a Goal. If you do not own a home, create a goal to own one. If you already own one, set a goal to purchase another. Got $10,000 in credit card debt? Make it a goal to eliminate it in 12 months or less. If you are finding that you have no control of your money, your goals are not big enough. I solve all of my problems with plans.
One easy habit to develop is creating a family budget. Often, when you take the time to review the amount of money coming in versus the amount going out, it can make you cringe. This kind of cash confrontation is going to make you cringe or crunch. I advocate that you crunch the numbers. Figure out the figures so they can stop working against you and start working for you. If you are bringing in less than it takes to manage your household, start by eliminating. Once you exhaust all that you can eliminate, decide if you need to ask for a raise, seek better employment, get a part time job and/or begin a business. Whatever you do, just don’t look at the deficit and pretend it’s not there. Because I promise you, when you look back at your budget, that deficit will be right where you left it!
If you are finding that you have talked the talk but you lose sight when it’s time to walk the walk, hire help. There are a few different types of professionals that can hold you accountable for creating better habits surrounding money.
You can choose to work with a money coach much like myself that has experience with assisting couples in getting to the core of their cash challenges. You can also select a marriage and family therapist that has a track record in working with couples who have communication issues surrounding their money challenges. Hire a CPA or accountant that offers more than the standard tax preparation service, but acts more as a consultant. Those are all effective solutions that you can seek out to heal your financial divide.
To learn more about how I work with women and families to assist them in dealing with the emotions of their finances, build more functional budgets and increase their credit scores visit http://www.
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