Money and Marriage

They say opposites attract. So, what happens when a saver marries a spender? Differing fiscal philosophies don’t have to spell trouble for a marriage. To co-exist peacefully, follow these five tips:

  1. Share your past. Experts say we form our attitudes towards money in childhood. Understanding your partner’s roots may help you to appreciate his or her point of view.
  2. Care enough to compromise. Enumerate and negotiate your short- and long-term goals. Your budget should include the top goals of each partner as well as an appropriate amount of “mad money” for each partner to spend or save.
  3. Make it automatic. Having money automatically deducted from your paychecks ensures you both contribute regularly toward your goals – and avoid arguments.
  4. Talk money. Routinely scheduled discussions of just ten minutes a week can help avoid major money battles.
  5. Periodic reviews.  Have an annual “board” meeting to review all of your accounts and remind each other where important documents are stored.
  6. Swap roles. If the saver hasn’t been to the grocery store in a decade, he or she should take the list and go food shopping, while the shopper/spender takes a stab at paying the monthly bills. This role reversal may result in an appreciation for your partner’s talents and perspective.

If the tension persists, seek out a neutral third party–a financial advisor, a marriage counselor, or both–to help you work through your issues.

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