How couples can avoid cash-induced conflict
courtesy of Cynthia Fick
Money may not have the power to buy happiness, but it sure can stress people out! In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association pinpointed money as the leading cause of stress for Americans, with 72 percent saying they had felt at least some stress about money in the previous month. Around one-third of adults with partners said that money is a major cause of conflict in their relationship.
Those survey results aren’t necessarily surprising. However, there’s also no need to treat them as inevitable, says Cynthia Fick, author of the book “The Sisterhood of Money: The Art of Creating Wealth from Your Heart”. “A lot of couples don’t like to talk about money issues, but good communication can play a big role in reducing both the stress and the conflict,” she says.
Regardless of who handles the monthly bill paying or who makes the most money, it is a partnership and both people need to be involved in financial decisions. “A lot of couples don’t make those decisions together,” Fick says. “They don’t talk things out or try to understand their differing views about spending and saving. This creates a situation where trouble can start brewing between them.”
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Fick finds that many women feel less confident about their money acumen than do men, and so will cede financial decisions to their partner. “Sometimes those negative beliefs come from traditional teachings that told women they were less capable of managing money,” Fick says. “That is simply not true, so wives stuck in that thinking need to come to an understanding that money issues are not beyond them.”
She has these 4 tips to help couples avoid cash-induced conflict.
Accept your differences
Just because your spouse views money issues differently than you doesn’t make him wrong, Fick says. “Sometimes different is just different.” It is important to stay open to compromise and be willing to listen to your spouse’s point of view.
Act as a team
You both have knowledge, experience, and viewpoints to bring to the table. Take advantage of that because when a couple works together they are stronger, Fick says. “Think of it this way,” she says. “When both spouses like to save, they might not have as much fun. When they both like to spend, they might put their future in jeopardy because they won’t have enough savings.”
Don’t wait for a crisis to talk
Discussions about financial matters are best held when heads are cool and stress levels are low, Fick says. “Set a regular time to talk about your money situation so it will, hopefully, be a more relaxed atmosphere,” she says.
If necessary, seek help
The two of you don’t have to do this alone, Fick says. If you need financial planning assistance, money management counseling, or even relationship counseling, you should seek help from a professional. That person can listen to both of your concerns and offer advice from an objective and knowledgeable standpoint.