The three most common topics couples argue about.
Money…Turns out to be a very personal and territorial subject. People have very different philosophies on handling money. Some are savers, some are spenders. Some are checkbook balancers, some are float-a-check and count on overdraft protection. Handling money is a learned behavior and parents have great influence over what their kids learn about money. Talking to your kids about money, setting chores for money and creating a mini budget can help them learn on a small scale, and make
mistakes in a small scale (before a mortgage is involved!) Having them earn money and set priorities will help them understand the value of their savings. Your local bank may even have a fun banking system for kids.
Other things that can influence spending behavior include comorbid diagnoses. People with ADHD tend to be impulsive with money, people with Bipolar tend to be compulsive with money, people with a history of addiction may find an emotional release in spending money or gambling. Knowing these things about yourself and your partner can help you decide what help you may need to be more fiscally responsible. Understanding it instead of blaming can help create a productive plan and decrease arguing.
A spouse’s money choices can affect the other’s credit score, assets, future; hence the reason for the sensitivity and defensiveness. They are at times afraid the other person’s poor choices will cause them harm. Again, being honest about your own habits can help a couple create a plan for finances that works you both. There is no one right way. Some couples share everything, from the checkbook to the ATM card with one joint account. Some have two separate accounts and split family bills between them. Some have three accounts, his hers and ours with the joint account being used for household shared bills and each having their own spending accounts. Whatever system works best for your family to cause the least amount of conflict is the one you should choose.
There is help available for this topic. Nonprofit agencies that help teach budgeting, counselors who can help with communication, money managers who are experts in making successful money decisions. Don’t wait until its too late. Don’t let money ruin your marriage. And teach your kids well, for they’ll be taking care of you someday. 😉