On Different Pages Financially?

Don’t Let Money Disputes Ruin Your Relationship

Financial disputes are a common part of a marriage, and most couples work hard to resolve their different money management styles.

Although most partners know that they may have to make compromises to reach financial agreements, it’s natural that disagreements over spending, saving and debt may still arise.

Reaching a deal on how to manage money does not necessarily require couples to share the same ideas about their income. It does, however, require them to set jointly-agreed upon goals and adopt spending and savings habits. In many cases, one partner might be the spender, while another is naturally a saver. In more extreme cases, both spouses may be spenders or carry significant debt. To avoid disputes and move forward financially, it can be helpful for couples to sit down and set several financial parameters.

Setting goals and guidelines can help keep couples on track

Developing goals is the first step couples should take, because the details of what they plan to accomplish will directly impact their budgets. For example, they may choose to save up money for a down payment on a home in the next five years, pay off student loans or build their retirement funds. Once couples have decided on several short- and long-term goals, they can start budgeting in a way that will allow them to reach their needs. Putting a time frame on these goals is also a good idea because it will help them outline how much should be put toward their initiatives each month to accomplish these targets.

Once couples begin examining their budget, they may also find that certain spending behaviors must change. For example, spenders may be forced to cut back significantly on unnecessary expenses. Savers may also find that they must loosen the reins slightly to appease their partner. The key is not to please one party or the other, but to develop a plan that is rewarding for both spouses while still allowing them to accomplish their goals.

During this period of goal setting and discipline, consulting a professional to help couples develop a sound plan may be helpful. Financial advisers and credit counselors can be a good resource for couples with differing money management styles, namely because a third party can provide more objectivity and expertise to financial discussions.