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:

3 Ways to Guard Against Abusive Love

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by David Sack, M.D. One of the most heartbreaking things about abusive relationships is how much they can look like love in the beginning to their victims. They are often swept off their feet, passionately courted, and made to feel more special than they have ever felt before. Then comes the crash: The ... Read more

Don't Get Married Until You Hash Out These 9 Issues

By

There probably aren’t many people who haven’t heard the words "marriages take a lot of work."  This is a good thing to be aware of before your marriage. That way you won't feel surprised or blindsided when the inevitable breakdowns occur. But you should also be aware of just how much work we're talking ... Read more

3 Tips for Ending a Toxic Relationship

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Holly Brown, LMFT Here’s a quick checklist to know if you’re addicted to a toxic relationship: You have more bad moments than good but you can’t let go because you’re always chasing another fix of the good. The relationship depletes rather than energizes you.  It ... Read more

See More

 
Latest Expert Videos
ASK YOURTANGO MORE QUESTIONS
Most Popular