By David Thatcher, CFP®, Partner & Senior Financial Advisor
It’s nearly impossible to ignore the statistics that surround the topic of love and money. Money is the primary reason for arguments between couples, with many couples averaging three fights per month revolving around financial issues. Furthermore, 3 in 10 married adults admit to potentially deceitful behavior about money, and arguments about finances are the most common predictors of a future divorce.
Why is it so difficult for money and love to peacefully coexist? Finances tend to be an emotional topic for most people and cause plenty of stress in everyday life, so many couples attempt to avoid these conversations at all costs. Not only does everyone have their own opinion on how to manage money, but most of us also have a unique financial personality. Some of us are savers, some are spenders. Some of us may be conservative, while others are free spirits. These differences can cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship.
But no matter what the statistics tell us, money doesn’t have to be a stress point in a relationship. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial friction.
It’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, have joint accounts or separate bank accounts. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to significant 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.
It’s important for a couple to be on the same page regarding their finances. How much can be spent per month on non-essentials? How much is too much for a new pair of shoes? Establish and agree upon a few basic guidelines and create a structure for how you will spend and save money. If one of you is more disciplined than the other, you might 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. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.
Set aside a portion of pocket 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.
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 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 source of concern in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.
As independent financial planners, we enjoy working closely with couples and helping them identify and pursue their lifelong objectives. If you have questions about your financial situation, desire 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 866.888.6563 to set up an appointment.
About Cypress Wealth Services
Cypress Wealth Services, an independent RIA firm providing financial planning and investment management to high net worth individuals, families, business owners, and institutions. CWS is comprised of professionals with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience and qualifications. CWS is uniquely qualified to serve a broad range of client needs. Their experience and expertise act as a foundation for their client service process, The Second Growth, which focuses on efficiently protecting, growing, and transferring to their loved ones the wealth and legacy a person has already built. With offices in Palm Desert, and Anchorage, the firm serves clients across the country. Learn more by visiting www.CypressWS.com.