Finances

Money Monday: Don’t let “Benjamin” get between you and your boo

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This is the second article in our new “Money Monday” series by financial expert Jini Thornton! Once a month, Jini will be giving us the advice we need to become financially fit. Have a finance question for Jini? Tweet her at @jinithornton!

So do you and your boo fight about money too?  If you said yes, join the club (although I know you don’t want to ☹).  Finances are the leading cause of stress in most relationships and money is the No. 1 cause of divorce within the first three years of marriage.   As important as both love and money are, we almost NEVER talk about money, and that’s why we end up fighting about it.  Let’s get to the bottom of this problem and figure out how to fix it!

Nine reasons couples fight about money:

  1. Financial infidelity (aka secret shopping, hiding money, lying about expenses, etc. – we will get into this one in a minute!)
  2. Different money personalities – One  person is a saver and the other is a spender
  3. You disagree on spending priorities for the kids
  4. One of you has a lot of debt
  5. You keep separate bank accounts and each of you pays bills, however, one of you doesn’t think how the bills are split is fair
  6. The designated money manager isn’t doing a good job
  7. One of you borrows money from family or friends and doesn’t tell the other person
  8. One of you loans money to family or friends and doesn’t tell the other person
  9. You have a one income household and the person who makes the money expects to be in control of the spending

So let’s get into #1 – financial infidelity – sounds serious doesn’t it?!  It sounds serious because it is serious, and it’s a leading cause on why couples fight.  This is what financial infidelity looks like –  going to the mall or ordering “stuff” online and keeping it in the car, at your friend’s house and sneaking it into the house.

We all know how that conversation goes – “what are you talking about, I’ve had this (dress, shirt, coat, etc.) forever.  Now you know it’s a lie and I do too because I’ve done the same thing.  Financial infidelity also looks like having bank or credit card accounts or bills that your mate doesn’t know about or having your mail for these secret accounts going to someone else’s house or to your job. I know you’re grown and you work every day and you deserve to have what you want, but lying isn’t the right way to handle it.

How to stop fighting about money

Whether you’re fighting about what daycare the kids should go to or you got busted with another new pair of shoes (again), you’re fighting and you’re sick of it.  So what do you do?

  • Figure out you and your partner’s money personality.  Are you “The Spender”, “The Saver”, “The Avoider” (hates talking about or dealing with money), or “The Spoiler” (gives money freely and might even think money is a little evil)? Once you know your money personality and your mate’s personality too, then each of you know who you’re dealing with, for real.
  • Discuss family history and gain an understanding of your partner’s financial background.  Often times, the way a person handles money is influenced by their parents and how they grew up.
  • Don’t play the blame game.  Address the problem, own your part, forgive and fix it.
  • Be financially transparent with your partner.  This will help you avoid financial infidelity.
  • Establish a budget that you both agree with.
  • Schedule a set time to talk about your concerns with your finances.  Never discuss money when you’re angry or when you’ve just had a fight.
  • Have regularly scheduled money meetings (this is a great time to review your budget).  As important as money is, how can you not have a set day and time when you go over expenses, future plans or whatever else is on your mind?
  • Take a money/budget class together – even if it’s online.  Learning together can make it easier to talk about money.
  • Get counseling.  There is nothing wrong with getting professional help if things are too far gone.  You can check out organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC.org) and lots of churches offer money counseling.

If you have a personal money questions or have a particular topic you want me to cover reach out to me at @jinithornton.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

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