Year after year, polls and research studies reveal that fights about money are still the main conflict in marriage. It’s no surprise that fights about money are also still one of the most common reasons for divorce.
With the holidays coming up quickly, now is the time to make sure that you and your spouse know how to avoid fighting over finances. Your holiday season shouldn’t be marred by conflict and disagreements over holiday spending can ruin your marriage.
In an article called “Financial Advice for Couples to Avoid Fights about Money”, the Huffington Post interviewed two financial advisers to get their best tips to help couples avoid fights about money that could ruin their holidays and
ruin their marriages. We’d like to share three of their top tips.
1. Issue an allowance.
This tip works year round for getting a handle on personal or discretionary spending, but we think it’s wonderfully adaptable to Christmas spending.
We often recommend ‘Yours, mine and ours,'” says Casey Mervine, vice president at Charles Schwab, who likens the monthly payment to an allowance. “Each person can spend it on whatever they want without guilt or feeling that things are imbalanced, as long as each person gets the same amount.”
Sit down together and agree on a Christmas budget that works for both of you, then split both the money and the gift list. When the money’s gone, the gift shopping is done, no matter what. During the rest of the year, agree on an allowance for each of you (that is NOT dependent on each spouse’s income, but on your budget) and make a deal that you can each spend that money however you like, as long as you don’t go over your allowance.
2. Make time to talk about money.
Couples really should schedule a specific time to have a conversation about money,” says Suzanne de Baca of Ameriprise Financial. “It shouldn’t be in the bathroom while brushing your teeth, or in the car, or even over a meal because that’s not going to be as productive. Treat it like a business meeting.”
In other words, give money talks the same importance and attention as any decision you would make at work!
DeBaca emphasizes the need for both spouses to be understanding and forgiving.
Being willing to compromise, to give in a little, to forgive each other for some small slip-ups is very important. If somebody purchased something that wasn’t in the budget, ask what trade-off you can make — or maybe you have purchased something that wasn’t in the budget as well.”
A huge part of the problem with fighting about money is casting blame and being unwilling to forgive. Don’t let a grudge drive a wedge between you and ruin your marriage.
Read the rest of the article to get a lot more sound advice on avoiding fighting about money. Don’t start your holiday season on a bad foot!