By Frederick A. “Rick” Fisher, MS, CFP®
It’s nearly impossible to ignore the statistics that surround the conversation of love and money. Money is the most common reason married couples fight, with couples averaging three arguments per month about financial issues. Furthermore, 3 in 10 married adults admit to potentially deceitful behavior about money, and arguments about money are the most common predictors of a future divorce.
What makes money and love so difficult to peacefully coexist? For one, money will always be an emotional topic for people. It seems that just about everyone has their own opinion on how to manage money and what constitutes “good” financial behaviors versus “bad.” Even among a happily married couple, differing financial philosophies can clash and cause tension. Additionally, money can be a difficult subject to broach as it easily incites stress or frustration, so many couples attempt to avoid conversations on finance at all costs.
Despite the trend, money doesn’t have to be a pain point in a relationship. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial arguments.
Be Honest About Spending
Whether you’re married or you live together, have a joint account or separate bank accounts, it’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to large expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. Studies show that around 49% of financial arguments are about unexpected expenses. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid such confrontations.
Establish and Agree Upon Boundaries
Some people are spenders and others are savers. It’s important for a couple to be on the same page regarding their finances. How much can be spent per month on nonessentials? How much is too much for a new pair of shoes? Establish and agree upon a few basic guidelines and structure for how you will spend and save money. If one of you is more disciplined than the other, you may consider having the disciplined spouse manage the monthly budget and spending.
Most often, one spouse acts as the Chief Financial Officer of the household, managing all bills, budgets, savings, investments, and insurance policies. However, it can be helpful for both partners to understand their spending versus their saving. If time allows, sit down together once a month to review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills and check for any possible errors. This helps you both recognize any spending patterns and stay on the same track with your financial goals.
Set aside a portion of “mad money” that you and your spouse can each spend every month on something you love, whether it’s a massage, a round of golf, or a steak dinner. Along with saving for long-term goals, set small objectives you can reasonably accomplish each month and celebrate your success.
Enlist the Help of an Unbiased Third-Party
Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third-party, whether that’s a financial advisor, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial advisor can work with you and your spouse together to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your coverage, assist you in establishing short and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice. Some couples seek guidance from a marriage counselor for assistance with building stronger lines of communication and compromise.
Although the topic of finance can occasionally cause tension, money doesn’t have to become a constant cause for concern in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding bills, and communicate effectively (whether that’s amongst the two of you or with the help of an advisor or counselor).
At Ostrofe Financial Consultants, we enjoy working closely with couples and helping them identify and pursue their lifelong objectives. If you have questions about your financial situation, seek advice or education on investing, or have yet to get started strategically planning for your future, we’d be happy to help. Call our office at 5302734425 or email us today.
About Rick Fisher
Rick Fisher is a financial consultant offering comprehensive financial planning and investment management with Ostrofe Financial Consultants, Inc. in Grass Valley, California. His goal is to help clients prepare for retirement and pursue their financial dreams in a fun and personal way. Rick serves clients in 15 states, though most reside in California, including the greater Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego areas.
Credentials and Experience
Rick holds FINRA Series 7, 63, 65, 24, and 51 licenses and is supported by Ostrofe Financial Consultants and National Planning Corporation. He also holds his California Insurance License and the designation of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®). The CFP® designation is awarded to experienced financial professionals who pass an examination and pledge to abide by a strict code of ethics. He holds himself to their high standards of integrity, objectivity, professionalism and confidentiality. Please note: NPC does not render tax or legal advice.
How Rick Can Help
Rick strives to take the fear and stress out of financial planning. He works with clients to uncover financial issues they may not have known about or have not yet addressed. Rick and the Ostrofe Financial Consultants team are there to answer questions, guide clients towards their goals, and help them feel confident in their future. To learn more about how Rick may be able to help, call his office at 530-273-4425.