Are you having trouble with finances in your relationship?
Many couples struggle with their finances. In fact, financial concerns or issues have been shown to be one of the top reasons for a couple divorcing. If you have debt, argue about money, or have significantly different views about money that effects your ability to save, build wealth or be loving to each other, then you may be having trouble with your finances as a couple. Don’t worry though. Fixing money conflicts is pretty simple and can be resolved through developing a better way to communicate about money. There are many options out their to help a couple find a way to manage their money together and not attack each other. So, let’s explore together what is going on.
One reason you may be struggling with conflict over money is that you both have different money styles or you may not have ever been taught how to manage money. Two types of money styles that people exhibit are being a saver or being a spender. If you are a saver, you tend to not buy much, especially for yourself. You also do tend to be a future thinker when it comes to thinking about how to spend your money. Spenders tend to think more present oriented. They tend to buy things on impulse or just because they want it. Neither style is negative, because both can be extreme. Obviously, a spender would accumulate more debt if they are not careful, but may take more risks for financial gain too. A saver may be so strict with their money that they never take care of themselves. Savers strength is being prepared for the future and have money when it comes time for a disaster. My goal is to help both styles to move more toward the middle and manage your money based on predetermined goals and structure.
Communicating about Money
Talking about money can be the hardest part to helping solve your financial concerns. You both have different desires, perspectives, and needs when it comes to money. Even your histories about how handling money was modeled to you is different. So, it is no surprised that misunderstandings can be the norm when talking about money. Yet, you need to talk about your finances! You will never meet either of your goals if you don’t sit down and discuss your thoughts, desires and needs when it comes to money. In fact, you will likely end up in perpetual conflict if you don’t.
So are you ready to communicate about money? May you are not ready to talk about money, but you need to start somewhere. I encourage couples to sit down and write out what they individual want and need. I also encourage them to write out their beliefs about money and how it should be used. Next, I encourage them to have a respectful sharing of what they wrote down. Please try to see that what the other person is sharing is truly their view and there is nothing wrong with it. After sharing your view, find what you agree on and where you disagree. Finally, use what you agree on as a starting point to develop a new plan that will include both of you working together on goals that you both like. Then add in compromises for you disagreements.
If you need further help with communication, check out these other resources:
- Communication in relationships
- Steps to becoming a better listener
- Blog about “Are you listening?”
- Connection or Communication
- Communication Do’s and don’t’s
Different ways of organizing finances in relationships
Every couple has a different way of managing their finances. I encourage you to find what works for you. However, I hope to provide you some thoughts and examples that may be helpful to get you started.
Most couples tend to have 3 different ways of thinking about their finances. One ways, and probably the most popular way, is combining all finances and expenses. This is what I call the “what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine” method. Basically, dollar of income is shared completely by each other and there is no thought of something being one individuals. It’s fully shared.
Another way of thinking about finances that some of my clients have introduced to me is the idea that their “hard earned money is theirs” and should be free to spend it how they want to spend it. This is considered the individualistic view. Each individual makes their own money and they spend their own money, but they don’t share with each other. This method makes paying bills a little bit more awkward if their has not been a defined agreement.
Finally, the last method is the agreement method. Both couples have worked out who’s going to pay what as far as bills, but most of the money each make goes to the individual. However, they also have agreed upon goals that they both put money into, whether proportionally or not, to pay for trips, retirement, cars, or other big expenditures.
All of these methods can work for a couple. But none of them work without communication, understanding and agreement or compromise. Many of the couples that come to my office with financial disagreements have totally different views on how they want to manage their money. They usually having attempted to understand the other person’s view or even ask how they view money. Also, they usually haven’t talked about things after a view intense conflicts because they don’t want the relationship to be effected. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens when you don’t find a way to solve your disagreements on money. So, please, TALK about your finances and find a WIN/WIN solution.
Hope this helps! If you are having trouble working through your finances and finding agreements, please call me. I would love to help you find a way to improve your communication and find solutions to help you stop living pay check to pay check. I would love to help you find a system that helps you get out of debt. Call 706-955-0230 or EMAIL.
Brandon Coussens, LMFT
- Address3540 Wheeler Rd., Ste. 110
Augusta, GA 30909