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Relationships & Money: Common Problems & Solutions

Most of us have heard stories about how money and its power can destroy relationships, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some things that can stand in the way of healthy relationships and some tips to help.
By MSA Staff

It’s common to seek the “right” match and a relationship based on mutual respect and caring.  But what happens when money gets into the mix?

Most of us have heard stories about how money and its power can destroy relationships, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some things that can stand in the way of healthy relationships and some tips to help.

Problem #1: Do you argue about money?

Whether we like it or not, we all must deal with money every day of our lives.  Even if you are not spending money at this very moment, your rent or mortgage bill will still arrive, and your electric bill is growing. MSA understands that this can cause stress at home and in the workplace.

A Solution:

Think about setting up a workable budget and bill-paying plan that you both can agree to and manage on a monthly basis.  Typically, one member of the couple may handle the bills and the investments, which can lead to frustrating conversations that start with, “Where did all of our money go?” When you both are engaged in the process, it is less likely that there will be surprises.  Also, if one partner has to pick up the financial responsibilities in the event of illness, death, or divorce, it could be easier to assume those responsibilities with previous knowledge of the household finances.  It’s also important that you both know all of the professionals that are in your mutual lives, such as financial advisors, accountants, lawyers, and others.

Problem #2: Does your financial personality clash with your partner’s?

We all come into relationships with a financial personality.  We are usually savers or spenders, but many people are somewhere in the middle.  These traits are often learned from our parents, based on life experiences.  Maybe your family was strapped for cash, and you are a saver.  Or, maybe your family never talked about money because it was never an issue, and you are a spender.  Many people were raised in households where it was deemed to be inappropriate to discuss financial matters, and any discussion was considered a secret.  Many believe the best financial personality is to be right in the middle to maintain balance.  It’s important to be a thoughtful and planned saver and disciplined spender who understands the differences between wants and needs.

A Solution: Talk to your partner about how you were raised and any money issues that may be present in your marriage.  Transparency will help you both understand how you react to money situations.

Problem #3: Do you get the kids involved in money issues with your partner?

Have you ever spent money and said to your kids, “I’ll buy this for you, but don’t tell your father (or mother)?”  This kind of occurrence can put your kids in a difficult situation, as it sets them up to be in the middle.  The other thing is that kids do watch and listen to us, so consider if that really is a behavior you want to pass on to them.

A Solution: Discuss the purchase with your partner before you go shopping.  You may not have to get permission; you may be spending your own money, but it helps to establish mutual respect for the financial boundaries you both set.  You would probably want to know before a purchase was made for one of your kids, as well.

Problem #4: Is your financial plan based on living paycheck to paycheck?

Many people live paycheck to paycheck and would have to borrow money even to meet a $400 emergency.  They react to the latest pull on their income and never seem to have anything saved.  Does this sound like you?

A Solution: Work with an MSA Money Coach to start to set your financial goals – together.  When you set goals and write them down, they can become real.  Will you be a one- or two-income household? Where do you want to live?  Do you want to buy or rent a home? Where do you want your kids to go to school?  Have you thought about what you would like to do when you retire?

The next step is to create a workable budget that you both commit to and manage together in order to reach your goals.

The more you share your goals and expectations with your partner, the more you can work as a team. Transparency and honesty can help establish a wonderful base of trust for your relationship.

We at MSA are here to help you build that sound foundation for your financial future together. An MSA Money Coach is a nonjudgmental, unbiased third party who can help you both through this process of understanding your financial habits, facilitating money conversations, and helping you become a stronger team as you design a workable solution. Call today to schedule a coaching session.

About the Author

Neale Godfrey is a New York Times #1 Best Selling Author of 27 books on empowering families (and their kids) to take charge of their financial lives.

Information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific personalized investment, financial planning, tax, legal, or accounting advice.  We recommend that you consult an attorney, tax advisor, or accountant regarding your unique circumstances.

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