If you think that most couples fight about sex, you’d be right. But there’s one issue that causes even bigger rifts in their relationships – money.
Millennials are more likely to experience crushing student loan debt as well as financial fallout from the 2008 United States housing market crash. We labor hard for our diplomas so we can have a career that fits our lives, rather than a life that fits our careers. But our desire to obtain an education and settle into a dream career can put us in a precarious financial position.
So, what do you do if you and your honey are constantly argue about money? Here are seven common money mistakes that couples make, along with tips to get your finances back on track.
1. Skipping the money talk.
Money Magazine polled married adults over 25 with household incomes above $50,000. The surprising results? 70% of couples argued about money more than they did about chores, food, quality time, or even sex. It’s clear that in terms of money and financial expectations, many couples are not on the same page. Have the hard financial conversations! Don’t wait until you’re married to discuss financial literacy.
2. Sharing Every Cent
If you and your significant other live under the same roof, keeping a joint household account is a great idea. However, sharing every cent with each other may not be the best move. If you and your partner have different spending habits and financial personalities, sharing your money too much could lead you to resent and distrust each other. Make sure that no matter what, you keep money for yourself to do with as you please.
3. Letting One Person Be The “Bookkeeper”
No matter your income stream, expecting only one person to manage the household budget is a no-no. Both you and your partner need to know your joint finance patterns, or else your differences will ignite a fight! Take inventory of your and your partner’s strengths and weaknesses, and create a budget accordingly. Besides, if only one person wants to keep their hands on the purse strings, their behavior could signal control issues down the road.
4. Keeping Money Secrets
Don’t keep financial secrets from your partner. Lying about your student loan debt or your credit score can cause huge issues if you and your significant other are looking to get an apartment together or pool your resources in a marriage. Full financial disclosure is the best way to minimize those arguments when the credit card bill arrives.
5. Emotional Spending
We’ve all bought a shiny bauble to cheer ourselves up after a bad day at work, but emotional spending shouldn’t become a habit. Identifying the trigger behind your or your significant other’s emotional spending is key to stop this bad habit and also address the thoughts and feelings behind it.
6. Not Creating A Budget
Budgets are the foundation of a happy, healthy financial life. To keep you and your partner on the same financial page, create a financial objective and small goals to help you work towards your ultimate aim. Is your goal to reduce monthly spending or to work towards a long-term purchase, like home ownership or paying off debt? How will you get there? An online budgeting tool like Mint can help you track your new budget.
7. Creating More Debt
It might be second nature to pull out your credit card to pay for dinner, but curb that impulse to overspend. We all bring debt to the table, but resist the urge to create more. A study of over 1,000 couples showed that the partners with the highest amounts of debt had the lowest marital satisfaction. While you and your partner may not be saying “I do” anytime soon, debt can (and often will) crush a relationship.
Whether you and your significant other want to pay off your debt or set up your finances for the future, you shouldn’t be afraid to have hard conversations about your finances. So don’t be afraid to put that money talk out there because it will ultimately keep your relationship happy and healthy.
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