One in four couples argue about money

A June 2019 research done by the Institute of Budget Information in Holland discovered that one in every four of the people interviewed stated that they regularly argue about money. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Different experiences with money Our experiences with money while growing up influence the way we handle money today. Most people never learned the necessary skills to manage money in their formative years. Money may have been tight in the parental household. This could either lead to becoming very frugal yourself, not wanting to spend money or could even lead to a drive to earn lots of money so you will never have to experience being poor again.

2. Different communication styles Consider the communication style of your partner – talk about how this affects your money management. Four major styles have been identified.

a. Passive Communicators

Some people are quite passive and avoid expressing their thoughts and feelings. By not asserting themselves, they often feel resentful, anxious or even hopeless. When it comes to money, someone else might then make the decisions about spending, saving and taking on debt for them, making them feel like they have no say or no control.

b. Aggressive Communicators Other people are overly assertive and express themselves in a powerful, “my way or the highway” manner. These types of aggressive communicators can be seen as taking over. They are often uncertain but try to dominate conversations to compensate. In a marriage relationship where both people want to work together to achieve goals, it’s important that financial decisions are shared fairly.

c. Passive-Aggressive Communicators 

With a passive-aggressive communicator, what you see is not necessarily what you get. It is hard to trust someone when they don’t send clear messages about what they want or what their intentions are.  A lack of trust in a relationship can bring out the worst in people, making someone think that their partner is being sneaky. Revenge spending or financial infidelity are ways people sneak around with money.

d. Assertive Communicators

Assertive communicators share their thoughts and feelings respectfully. They are up front and honest without putting someone else down. They also know how to listen and reflect on what they are hearing from the other person.

3. Keeping secrets keeping thigs secret from your partner and not revealing what you have spent can cause serious loss of trust. An unexpected credit card bill, purchases hidden away in a cupboard.

See a previous blog article about this,

4. Differing values Differing values can make it hard to communicate with a spouse about money because each person has different ideas about what is important and what they want to do with their money. Values are what is important to us. That’s why when a couple argues about money, the real issue they’re arguing about is much deeper and harder to see.

We decide what our values are through experience, which means they could change throughout our lives. Some factors that influence our values include: our level of education, culture, age, gender, family makeup, medical and socio-economic conditions, marital status, as well as societal influences and expectations.

When it comes to our finances, we spend money on things we value. If someone values safety and security, they may want to keep their savings account at a certain level, stick to a budget and avoid excessive debt. If someone values freedom and excitement, they may throw caution to the wind with their money and spend more recklessly.

5. Can’t decide whether to manage money jointly or separately. There is no one size fits all approach to whether you should manage your money jointly or separately, but it can be tricky if you don’t see eye to eye with your partner about it.

It’s important, whatever your choice, that you don’t get yourself in a situation where only one of you understands your finances. A mutual understanding means you’ll both know what you can and can’t afford, and if something were to happen to one of you, the other would have an idea of their financial affairs.

So, start talking together!

Discuss your decision maing style, how your personality affectes your money management and your relative values.

This article gives some very helpful direction.

What’s your money type? Discuss the outcome of this test together.

Do the Compass study “Money and Marriage.”

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