7 Things My Parents’ Marriage Taught Me About MoneyKathleen Celmins
Money is one of the biggest things couples fight over. In fact, money fights predict divorce rates, according to this article. If you want to avoid divorce (and who doesn’t?) you should really figure out how to talk to your spouse about money.
My parents set the example in my life. They were married 36 years before my mom passed away, and they had a strong relationship. I saw them argue, of course (this is real life, after all, and not an episode of The Brady Bunch) but I noticed that they rarely, if ever, argued about money.
I observed them, and paid close attention. Here are 7 things my parents’ marriage taught me about money.
7 Things My Parents’ Marriage Taught Me About Money 1 of 8
Think About the Outcome First 2 of 8
What's your goal? What do you want from this? Make sure your intentions are clear, and that you're not just fighting in order to fight. If you suspect that you just want to "win" this one, stop. Take a step back, count to ten, do whatever you need to do, then don't have the argument. It's probably not worth it to hassle your spouse. Write down the reasons you're upset about money, then wait until you're no longer grouchy to approach the subject.
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Don’t Play the Blame Game 3 of 8
If you're mad about money that was spent irresponsibly, figure out whether you can return the item. If you can't, then you have to get over it. Don't blame your spouse. And if you're feeling blamed, don't get defensive. Money will always be there as an issue. You'll spend too much, he'll spend too much, it will happen. Instead of blaming, start planning together.
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Figure Out Where Your Partner is Coming From 4 of 8
I saw a couple argue about money once at a convenience store. He bought her an ice cream sandwich, and she got really angry. He was trying do something nice, and instead of thanking him, she yelled about not needing to waste money or calories. This was an argument that could have been avoided had she known where he was coming from (and really, let's not yell at each other for $1 purchases, okay?).
Sometimes there are deep issues surrounding the way we spend our money. And sometimes, a spouse is spending money in order to do something nice. So try to figure out where they're coming from and you'll set yourself up for a more loving relationship.
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Think About Why You Want What You Want 5 of 8
Why do you want to win the argument? What's your end goal? Answering "why" will help you, and your spouse, have productive money conversations. You want long-term security? You have to sacrifice short-term shiny things. Talk about why you want financial security with your spouse. Who knows? You might just be on the same page.
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Remember, You’re In This Together 6 of 8
The future is yours, together. Getting on the same page with money will do wonders for your relationship. Do not forget that you're going to spend the rest of your life with this person. Let the little things slide. So he spent too much on the xyz this month. You have a lot of months together to fix that.
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Create Shared Money Goals 7 of 8
Plan your future together. Figure out how you're going to split your finances, where you're going with your money, how much you want to save for retirement, heck, how much you want to save for Christmas! Create goals together, then start saving toward those goals. Keep track, and make it a game!
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Sometimes, It’s Best to Split 8 of 8
Your finances, that is! Don't throw in the towel on the relationship! But if you find yourselves always arguing about coffee-level purchases, it might make sense to have your own separate accounts.
My parents did. They kept their finances completely separate. My mom didn't like that my dad went out to lunch all the time, and my dad wasn't a huge fan of my mom's love of Macy's. So they split their finances, he spent his money, she spent hers, they had shared goals, and they didn't fight about money. Do what works for you!
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