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Are You Having These Money Arguments with Your Partner?

Every couple argues about money. If you haven't already had a heated screaming match with your significant other about money, the chances are high that there's one in store soon enough.

The American Institute of CPAs reported in 2012 that couples will most likely argue about money before anything else. In fact, couples tend to argue more about finances than work, children, friends, and household work. It was also reported that couples who spend their days bickering over finances are at a much bigger risk for divorce.

Realistically, there's no real valid reason for getting into knock-down, drag-out fights over money. The key to talking about money sensibly with your significant other is acknowledging that money is nothing more than a simple object. However, it's hard to see it in this light when credit card bills are rolling in, the electric bill needs to be paid, and debt collectors are calling at all hours of the day.

What types of money arguments are having with your significant other? These are three classic arguments over finances that couples notoriously run into.

1. You're Spending Too Much!

For couples, this is arguably the most common basis of any argument over finances. One is a natural-born saver, while the other can't seem to stop swiping the plastic or visiting the ATM. Regardless of which stance you have, you've probably been on both ends of the spat.

For example, you might enjoy professional pedicures every once in a while, but your honey might not see the point in spending hard-earned money on that type of expense. This is where worlds collide, and it usually doesn't end in a pretty way. From face value, it seems as though these arguments are based entirely on numbers and expenses, but they are actually based on values.

While you value feeling pampered, your partner might not see the need for an expense such as a professional pedicure. This is a collision of viewpoints that rarely ever becomes resolved on its own.

How You Can Fix It: Delegate an Account for Personal Finances

Easily enough, the solution to this problem is opening individual accounts or stashing money away for personal expenses. Neither spouse has access to the other's "personal finance" account, and they're not entitled in any way to have a say in how the other person's funds are used.

Of course, you'll need to come up with a certain budget number for these accounts and purchases, but you'll find that the money arguments over "who bought what" will die down quite considerably.

Related Article: Is Your Significant Other Causing You to Break the Bank?

2. That Money is MINE!

Once a couple becomes serious, it's quite common for the two individuals to join their finances together. It's a "what's mine is yours" mentality, and it makes sense. However, one person will almost always make more than the other in the relationship. This slant in income differences will often create power struggles over finances. Of course, the higher earner will want more control over the joint accounts and financial decisions, while the one earning less will be left feeling offended and powerless.

This argument is similar to the first, mainly because it is less about money and more about who is contributing what to the relationship. In terms of contributions, our society naturally values money more than any other type. This is why it's incredibly common for higher earners to make a larger portion of the decisions, not only about finances, but also about other facets of the relationship.

How to Fix It: Itemize Each Person's Contributions on Paper

Overall, a couple must reach a certain point at which they recognize all income as shared money. Of course, this excludes each person's recently discussed personal funds. If it's hard for either/both of you to accept that practically all of your income should be shared, it's time to take a seat and make a list of each persons' contributions for the health of the relationship. This list doesn't have to be limited to income or expenses, either. Branch out and get creative.

Many marriage counselors advise their clients to utilize this peace-keeping strategy when money squabbles are turning into sudden death matches. The main goal is for the higher earner to acknowledge the fact that the lower earner brings much more to the table than their own contribution of income. The lower earner might be the one who grocery shops, picks the kids up from school, makes sure the bills are paid on time, and so on. It's easy to place a value on someone's head in terms of their income status, but in the grand scheme of things, people can bring much more to the table than just a big paycheck.

Related Article: Do Your Emotions Regulate Your Money?

3. Why Aren't You Saving or Preparing for Retirement?

Many relationships feature two individuals who have differing views on long term financial wellbeing. One might be a penny pincher who sacrifices luxuries and entertainment for future financial security. The other might live paycheck to paycheck, enjoying every last cent they can squeeze out of their earnings for the week/month/etc.

Lifestyles that conflict this heavily can be absolutely maddening for all people involved. The saver is overwhelmed by the spender's loose pockets. The spender has no problem swiping a credit card or leaving a generous tip, and often feels trapped and judged by the saver.

How to Fix It: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

The problem experienced by couples who commonly have this argument, once again, isn't about money. It's about the fact that both people view money in different ways. It's difficult for the spender to see why the saver becomes anxious over finances and responsibilities. On the other hand, the saver has a hard time understanding why the spender is so carefree about delegating money to frivolous purchases.

This is best handled when the saver takes control of the finances. While most marriage counselors will stress sharing when it comes to finances, this is a matter of delegation. The saver, who has placed more care into the finances, has a chance to focus closely on them, and the spender doesn't have to feel continually nagged.

As you would expect, this method alone will not stop these types of money arguments. You and your partner will need to have regular conversations about the financial facet of the relationship. This will regularly keep both people up to date and on the same page about the finances. Likewise, it will also place the money situation in better perspective for the spender; hopefully encouraging them to make better financial decisions on their own.

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Yael Kent's picture

Yael Kent is a personal finance enthusiast with experience writing about credit cards, credit repair, debt, and more. In addition to being an editor at Creditnet, she has been featured on Yahoo Finance, Reuters, and other financial sites.

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