Money issues are still named as being one of the biggest causes of divorce. If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve probably had some money issues in your marriage. Hopefully, they were small problems that were quickly resolved. But if you’re facing some serious money issues in your relationship, a new article says that it’s essential to understand the real root of the problem.
The article is called “Money & Marriage: Couples Help at Midlife” and it’s new today on the Work Goes Strong blog.
In it, Syble Solomon, a popular speaker on the psychology of money and marriage, says that it’s important to understand that most money problems in a marriage don’t have anything to do with money at all.
The issues couples face about money are very rarely about money. Usually it’s a conflict of values or perspectives, or a reflection of our fears about money.”
She goes on to explain that different people have different views on money and what it means to them. Unfortunately, spouses are often divided on this issue. One spouse may feel that big houses, nice cars and expensive vacations mean success and security, while the other spouse needs to be debt-free with money in savings to feel secure. This can create some real problems.
One of the problems specific to midlife couples is supporting or not supporting their adult children.
With the economy and unemployment as they are, many adult children are asking for help from their parents or even moving back home. Often, one parent is in agreement with this and the other is not. Solomon explains that this isn’t about money so much as it is about parental obligations and differing views on how to help adult kids.
What’s important is staying open and honest. Sit down with the child and say, ‘This is the amount of money we’ve allocated to help you – whether it’s $100, $500 or $5,000. What’s the best way for you to utilize it? Some parents want to make things easier for the child, others want it to be a life lesson. Some parents work out an agreement that they’ll be paid back when the kid is working.”
Retirement is another financial issue that commonly causes money conflicts in a midlife marriage.
But again, Solomon says this is less about money than you might think.
Regardless of how you come to be retired, a lot of issues at midlife don’t surface as strongly when there’s a good income coming in. As soon as that stops, even if there’s enough money, they crop up.”
She also explains that many spouses try to fill the hole left in an empty nest or by a career that is no longer a part of their life by spending money that the other spouse isn’t comfortable spending.
If you’re having money issues in your marriage, sit down together and talk about the reasons why one or the other of you feels a certain way on a financial issue. Is it about money or something else? Once you know the real root of the problem, you can begin to solve it….together.