When my wife and I met, we were very different when it came to our views about money and personal finances. I was much more conservative in my outlook, and she wasn't. It wasn't that she was a crazy spender or anything like that, but she was certainly a little looser with her money.
Over the years, we've thankfully grown closer on our money outlooks. However, occasionally we still don't quite see eye to eye, but we rarely fight about money. This is because we do certain things to help us avoid conflict regarding our personal finances.
Separate but equal
Keeping certain finances or financial responsibilities separate in marriage might sound strange, but it works for us. When tend to share most common expenses such as utilities, our condo association fee, kid costs, and food. However, where we start splitting things up comes largely in those expense areas that are for our individual purposes, interests, hobbies, or fun.
My wife doesn't expect me to pay for her to go to a music concert with her friend that I have no interest in or to get a pedicure. Meanwhile, I don't expect her to pay for something of mine that is solely for me. In this way, we keep animosity regarding what otherwise might be viewed as frivolous or silly purchases that we might individually consider "a waste of money" to a minimum.
Taking things slow
My wife likes to jump on things right away, buying them as soon as we find out about them. I however, have learned that it's sometimes best to wait and to think things through before buying. In this way we've avoided making costly missteps when it comes to everything from vehicle tires and microwaves to electric fireplaces and televisions. Thinking things through, exploring a variety of options, and giving ourselves time to decide whether we even need particular purchases keeps buyer's remorse and the fights that can accompany bad buys to a minimum.
Great communication and common goals
One of the most critical aspects of not fighting about money is through better communication and goal sharing. By talking about our money, discussing where it's being saved or spent, in what amounts, and by whom, we open the door to talking about problems we're encountering or successes we've achieved.
Over time, our communication has grown less frequent in a way since we're both on the same page. We typically have a good financial talk about once a month to ensure that we're still on the right track financially, get updates on account statuses and bills, and talk about any upcoming events or big bills that might be on the way. We also take time to discuss retirement amounts and numbers, investment options, college education plans for the children, and other major goals -- both short and long term -- like buying vehicles or planned moves so that there is no confusion regarding our financial planning process.
In these ways we make dealing with personal finances something that we do together, which removes much of the sticking points that many couples encounter along their road to combining money and money decisions with a relationship.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.
- Personal Finance - Career & Education
- Personal Budgeting