Stop Fighting About Money
Statistics show that money is the leading cause of fights in a marriage and with the divorce rate hovering around fifty percent, money shows to be a pretty important factor in relationships. Do you fight about money? What exactly do you fight about? It is time to stop fighting about money.
In my experience chatting with friends about their financial status and their combined relationship with money, I have found that there are two ways married couples that I interact with handle money. With both people working, there is either just one account, and they manage it together, or the one who is better with money handles it solo. Or, there is one combined account, and then they each have a separate account. Each person is responsible for their “own” bills. For example, let’s make up some names.
Annie And Max
Annie is a teacher and Max works for the local paper mill. She makes about $35,000 a year and Max makes $65,000. They each have a vehicle. Annie drives a GMC Terrain that she leases while Max has a Ford Super Duty truck. Annies payments are $310 a month and Max pays $405 for his payment. Annie is responsible for her payment and Max has his payment taken out of his account by the local credit union each paycheck.
Annie is also responsible for any of her credit cards, student loans, groceries, and the cable bill. She also deposits $400 a month into the account for the mortgage which is $1100 each month.
Spender And Saver
Max deposits $700 each month into the joint account for the mortgage, is also in charge of electric, propane, cell phones, car insurance. Max has a keen mind for numbers and organization. He knows when things are due, he pays extra on his truck if he can get each month. Max has also already paid off his student loan and only has a credit card for “emergencies” and pays if of each month in full.
Annie is not great with paying the bills. Her credit cars are just about to their maximum, and payments are rarely on time. The cable has been interrupted more than once because it hasn’t been paid. She has probably paid more in late fees on her car payment than interest.
Would this couple benefit from sitting down and working together with one account? I bet they would. Buy Max knows how Annie handles money and he doesn’t want anything to do with her hot mess. Nor does he think he should be responsible for her crazy and outrageous student loan debt.
Annie doesn’t want to combine finances because then Max would know how much she pent for that Michael Kors purse she bought last week or how much she gets charged for overdraft fees.
Instead, they get stressed out about the money and Max gets mad when he can’t watch football on Monday night because the cable bill hasn’t been paid in two months! Money fights happen. Max doesn’t understand why Annie has such a hard time yet he won’t help her and Annie goes through life with anxiety about money and a fear that Max will find out what she is doing. They need to stop fighting about money. It is putting huge stress on their relationship and isn’t good for either one of them.
The ideal situation is one where both people sit down every month, look over the numbers and devise a plan for their money, together. Many times, one person feels stronger and more confident with finances, and the other is the spender. Designing a plan for their money together and paying the bills together takes the stressors off the marriage, putting them both on the same page allowing them to be open and honest about what is happening with each of them.
Sometimes, though, the thought of numbers and finances might throw one of you into a panic attack. This “forces” the other to take care of all the money and the one who is not entrusted to the “nerd” to take care of it. Many times this is the answer and works. Although all the pressure sits on the shoulders of the nerd, the free spirit will listen and follow whatever the nerd says, knowing that they do know best.
I Have A Solution
It’s going to be bold, straightforward, and maybe even a little mean. Brace for impact, here it goes… STOP. FIGHTING. ABOUT. MONEY!
It’s time to get real and come clean. If you are married to the nerd, pour a couple of glasses of iced tea (or wine) sit down and have a conversation. Ask for help. Explain what they already know – that you are not good with money and come up with a system, so you both sit down and work it out together – once a month.
If you are the saver or nerd, offer help to your partner. Remeber that you love them and want to have a fantastic rest of your life with them full of peace and harmony. Not stress and anxiety. Know that a united front against whatever comes at you is so much stronger than two separate entities.
United As One
Know that the free spirit spender is going to need some designated spending money, so they do not feel stifled.
Consider combining your accounts completely and entirely. Consider marrying your finances so that the battle can be shared because you will need each other to become debt free. It won’t be easy, and once everything has been combined, all secrets are on the table and both of you have a plan, you will find so much strength and combined power that your relationship will be that much stronger!
It is time to stop fighting about money. Seriously. It is time.