According to a recent study by the American Institute of CPAs, the most common argument topic among married couples wasn’t children, or what to have for dinner, it was about money. That’s understandable, of course. Money (especially when you’re running low on it), can be a stressful issue. But if you follow the four tips outlined below, you can turn that troublesome topic in one that’s a little less worrisome.
TALK ABOUT MONEY (AND KEEP TALKING!) – Many couples avoid talking about money because, well, it’s not always an easy conversation to have. That’s mistake number one. Ignoring a difficult topic like finances only makes things trickier when problems arise. Instead, talk about money – including debt, savings goals, and spending habits – on an ongoing basis.
DISCUSS GOALS AND BUDGETS – Two of the biggest ongoing money conversations in any marriage are about financial goals (both short-term and long-term) and budget expectations. Talk about retirement (it’s never too early!) and have detailed discussions about the family budget. How much money do you expect to set aside each month? What will the money be used for? What emergency situations necessitate dipping into that savings? All are good things to talk about to ensure you’re both on the same financial page.
TAKE TURNS BEING THE ACCOUNTANT – If you’re like most married couples, one person is probably saddled with the task of being the family accountant. That approach can work, but a better formula is one in which both spouses share the chores. Sharing the duties ensures that either person can take over should the need ever arise, but it also creates an environment in which talking about money (see the two tips above) is a whole lot easier.
TRUST EACH OTHER – The strongest marriages are built on trust, and the same is true of strong financial relationships. You trust your bank, you trust your financial adviser, so you should also trust each other to make responsible decisions when it comes to your family’s money. With that trust, you should also be calm and rationale when it comes to financial missteps. Mistakes will happen, but if you both approach the situation calmly and respectfully, it work itself out a lot faster.
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