How Couples Can Manage Money with Less Conflict

By

How Couples Can Manage Money with Less Conflict
Read this article to learn how you and your sweetheart can have a meeting of the minds about money

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Money is a point of contention for many couples. It’s notorious for causing conflicts and ruining relationships. The problem? “Money is very central to people’s identity,” according to Jonathan Rich, Ph.D, psychologist and author of The Couple’s Guide to Love & Money.

It can represent everything from status to success to even self-worth, he said. And partners have the power to influence each other’s finances, which can trigger arguments and anger, he added.

It also can reveal underlying problems between spouses. “If a couple lacks trust and has difficulty working together, these conflicts always play out financially,” Rich said.

To make matters worse, our shaky economy can create or perpetuate stress. “With the current economy, financial stress is a huge issue and it can easily divide a couple and lead to blame,” he said.

Conflicting Attitudes About Money

Couples clash when partners have different attitudes about money. Rich has discovered three dimensions:

  • Lifestyle (frugal vs. lavish)
  • Dependence (depend on other for money vs. self-sufficient and support others)
  • Risk-taking (take risks vs. play it safe)”

The biggest culprit of conflict is lifestyle because of the issues around spending. Frugal partners, which Rich calls “Spartans,” are more interested in penny-pinching in the present and saving for the future. “Monarchs,” partners that prefer a lavish lifestyle, don’t worry about the long term. They might use credit cards more often and incur debt.

Also, partners might take each other’s financial styles personally. According to Rich, Monarchs might think, “If he (or she) really loved me, he would spend more money [and] buy me nice things.” Spartans might think, “If she (or he) really loved me, she would be saving money and helping us to build a future together.”

Managing Money More Effectively

Rich recommended these three tips for managing money effectively as a couple.

1. Identify common goals as a couple.

“Meeting on a regular basis to look at short- and long-term goals can help to sort out priorities and find commonalities,” Rich said. This lets you know what you’re working toward and gives you the motivation to save your money, he said.

“The Monarch and Spartan might both agree that they want to buy a house in the future—but ‘crunching the numbers’ will show the Monarch that it won’t be possible unless monthly expenses are cut enough to save a down payment.”

2. Track your expenses.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

John M. Grohol

Psychologist

Dr. John Grohol is a mental health expert and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Location: Newburyport, MA
Credentials: PsyD
Website: PsychCentral
Other Articles/News by John M. Grohol:

Jealousy Ruining Your Life? Fix It By Figuring Out The Real Cause

By

Jealousy can be a problem in any type of relationship and can appear in anyone’s life at any time. You can have jealousy with other people's things, their success, their beauty, their athletic prowess, their relationship, their kids, their education, their money, and their life. It can be a tiny feeling in your gut or it can be an overwhelming ... Read more

Be Happy — It's Not Just For Your Sake

By

In case you hadn't noticed, there's been a wealth of information recently in the form of books, TV shows, CDs, DVDs, magazine articles, and even movies on a subject that is near and dear to everyone's heart. The subject is happiness. I'm not sure why it is that there seems to be more interest in happiness these days than there has been in the ... Read more

4 Reasons Your Man Doesn't Appreciate You

By

Are you suffering from lack of appreciation from your man? If so, you may find the following perspective on men to be very enlightening. It might even spur you into action to get the appreciation you deserve.  Does the following ring true for you, even though you may have never considered it before? It all begins with what I am calling the holy trinity ... Read more

See More

PARTNER POSTS