How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Your Spouse and Money

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Couples Who Do Bills Together, Stay Together

Couples Who Do Bills Together, Stay Together

Money disagreements are a leading cause of divorce. When couples have different ideas about how to spend, save and prioritize their financial lives, or when they struggle to communicate about their stresses, hopes and fears about money, the relationship often suffers.

How are you and your partner navigating your financial relationship, as well as your personal relationship? Here are a few ideas to consider as you work to create a happier home and a financially healthier life together.

Who’s the spender, and who’s the saver?

When it comes to money, it’s often true that “opposites attract.” In fact, “spendthrifts” tend to marry “tightwads” – that is to say, people who often spend more money than they would like tend to marry people who have a hard time allowing themselves to spend – according to research from the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University. If your relationship has a similar dynamic, it helps to recognize that maybe you’re just opposites in how you approach your finances. Try to play to your strengths – if one of you gets a lot of pleasure from saving, make sure “the saver” of the couple gets to save a fixed amount of each paycheck. If one of you is great at shopping for bargains on products and experiences that will improve your lives, give the “spender” a fixed allowance of “fun money” each month that he/she can spend without feeling guilty.

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Set expectations.

One of the hardest parts of managing a shared financial relationship is avoiding unpleasant surprises. Make sure that you both are communicating clearly with each other about purchases and savings goals. Make an agreement that you won’t spend any money over a certain amount without discussing it with your partner – for example, set a $200 limit, so that any purchases over $200 have to be discussed before swiping the credit card.

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Take time to plan.

Every couple should take time at least once a year to sit down together and look at the overall picture of their financial lives. How much are you spending each month? What is your credit score? How much are you paying in credit card interest, car payments and mortgage payments? Does it make sense to refinance your mortgage? Are you saving enough for retirement? Just like a publicly traded company issues quarterly earnings reports to shareholders, you and your partner need to be able to sit down together and share regular information with each other about the overall financial health of your “company.”

Don’t let emotions rule your financial life.

Money is ultimately just a tool to help you reach your goals in life – money is not a substitute for the love and companionship of real people and it’s not a weapon to be used in arguments. If you and your partner are having an argument, resist the urge to use money to get back at them – either by going on a shopping spree using your joint checking account or by withholding money as a way of exerting control. While money-related stress is often a leading cause of relationship problems, that doesn’t mean you should allow money to control your relationship or be a way of validating your relationship. The best things in life are the things that money can’t buy.

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Learn to love managing your money with, where you can find great tools and resources to help you manage your personal finances, start a budget plannerimprove your credit, and make better financial decisions for a more secure future.

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