Arguments over money are inevitable. Money is a hot topic and according to research is usually the number one source of conflict for couples in marriages. Money represents power, and is the source for meeting needs and wants. Because of this, it’s easy to feel like you have to protect yourself when a conversation with your spouse comes up about money. And feeling the need to protect your values and needs can often spiral into an argument.
Money talks will rear their head from time to time in your relationship, it’s unavoidable and is an important conversation that’s necessary in any healthy relationship. However, there are tools you can implement as a couple so when the topic of money comes up, you can avoid a fight and have a productive conversation, instead.
Setup a budget
A budget is a pragmatic and practical way to get on the same page. Sit down together as a couple and go over your vision. What do you need now in your day to day lives? What are your future expectations, and where do you hope to be in 5 or 10 years? Is treating yourselves and going on vacations an important part of your identity as a couple? If so, then start a savings plan for that and work it into your budget.
You get the idea. Wherever you land on the spectrum of needs and wants as a couple, work this into your plan. This will help avoid any future surprises and arguments. If you need a place to start, check out our free budget worksheet download here.
Don’t parent each other
Arguments about money will happen. A key thing to keep in mind is to not parent each other. You don’t want one person to feel picked on, or the other to feel like the “bad guy” because they are always saying “no.”
Avoid this by collaborating with each other ahead of time. Come up with a budget or plan that will help you combat any future money fights that may spark. By having a solid plan to refer to, you’ll have the tools to put out the fire before it spreads too far.
Work out a system
Acknowledge that you both are responsible for your finances and a compromise needs to be reached. We call this shared ownership. Stay on the same page and stick to your budget. Does one of you prefer to pay the bills, or is one of you more timely with deadlines? Or maybe one of you is a master at spreadsheets and loves to keep track of finances? Then that person should take on that duty.
Try to automate your life as well – set up direct deposits into a savings account, or sign-up for automatic bill pay. These are all ways you can help simplify things in your life and keep on track. Whatever the system is that works for the both of you, be sure to delegate who does what so there is no miscommunication; and stick to your plan!
Do you need outside help? Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you and your spouse are having trouble finding harmony on your financial viewpoints. You can speak to a financial advisor. You can also connect with a counselor, or a SYMBIS Facilitator and take our SYMBIS Assessment. Your SYMBIS Facilitator will walk you through any friction you have in your relationship, and is well equipped and trained to help you reach a consensus.
Reading up on the topic of money is also helpful. We recommend the books The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, Never Enough?: 3 Keys to Financial Contentment by Ron Blue, and Everyday Millionaires by Chris Hogan.
When it comes to money, if you setup a plan and make big decisions ahead of time, you will undoubtedly have fewer arguments when a hot topic comes up. Take the time to sit down with your spouse and devise a money plan and system that works for the both of you!
Do you have an agreed upon plan in place, or a set budget that helps with the financial decisions in your home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!