Some say money is the root of all evil. Well, money is certainly the root of many relationship problems. “Finances are often behind all the other issues of intimacy, of communication, that sort of thing,” counseling psychologist Dr. Stewart Beasley says. “Because it’s one of the hardest things for couples to talk about.”
Beasley says even in love, couples often fight when one of them splurges on something they just had to have.
“It (spending) does make us feel better until the bill comes in,” he says.
In many relationships, one person is the saver and one is the spender.
“Those two people are going to clash,” Lauren Harris says, Public Relations Manager with First Fidelity Bank.
She says couples should celebrate their differences.
Let the saver be in charge of the bank accounts and let the spender do the shopping.
“Talk about it together and decide as a team,” Harris says. “But then let that person make the purchases so they feel like they’re getting to do what they like to do.”
Next, don’t worry about your friends.
Trying to keep up with what they’re driving or where they’re vacationing can lead to quick debt.
“You need to do what’s best for you, long term,” Harris says.
Couples should budget for the future.
Start saving now for things like an emergency fund and eventual retirement.
For today’s expenses like the mortgage, groceries or child care, Dr. Beasley recommends having a joint bank account.
“When people are managing their own money and not looking at the ‘we,’ it doesn’t build that partnership that today’s two-paycheck family has to have,” he says.
Don’t forget to budget for fun.
“Just a movie ticket or two, dinner once a month, anything just to make you feel like you’re suffering,” Harris says.
Also, meet with a financial adviser just as you would a marriage counselor.
It’s about getting on the same financial page.
Experts also say eliminating debt can remove a lot of stress from a relationship and stay focused on financial goals by writing them down.