Top Money Arguments Couples Have and How to Stop

Facing money problems for couples is not unknown territory. Chances are, if you and your partner are like most couples, money can often be a touchy subject. Unfortunately, studies have proven that fights about finances are able to predict divorce rates. The scary thing is, these arguments can begin even before you and your partner get hitched. Today, we’ve got a few tips to help you avoid and/or resolve these challenges.

Problem #1: Differences in Spending Habits

One of the most common financial issues that a couple may face is how they are going to manage spending. More often than not, one partner gets labeled the “spender” and the other one the “saver,” but labels are never beneficial for a relationship and can lead to tension. When one person takes care of the grocery shopping, bills, and ensuring that the family and home needs are met, and the other spends their money on frivolities, one can see how frustration can easily boil over into arguments. The key to avoiding an argument is to side-step any surprises. A budget will assist in planning out monthly spending so that both parties know how much money is necessary for bills and other living expenses. This will help “the spender” to understand that they are possibly spending too much money on unnecessary things. Creating a budget together is a great way to improve communication and get closer as a couple, as well.

Problem #2: Past Debts

Most people come to the altar with some kind of financial baggage, whether it’s school loans, credit card debt, car loans, or even alimony and child support if this is a second marriage. If you are entering into a relationship and you have a lot of financial strife, it can sometimes feel like you’re dragging your partner down, but it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. Dealing with debt as a couple can actually strengthen a relationship, and in fact, by working together, you can reduce the debt more quickly. Again, working out a plan to pay down your past debt together (even if the debt is one-sided) will increase feelings of being on the same team.

Problem #3: Separate or Joint Accounts?

Should you have separate account for personal expenses and a joint account for household expenses or two totally separate accounts? From which account will you draw money to take care of your children? These are just two examples of the many questions couples frequently find themselves asking when determining how to best merge finances. Many times, this argument can leave one person feeling hurt because they feel that their partner doesn’t trust them enough to share a bank account together. The desire for separate accounts does not indicate that your partner doesn’t want to be close to you. In fact, it can be a good idea to keep separate accounts for many couples. Finding what works for you and your spouse will take time and some “from the heart” conversations. Whether you create a joint account or continue to maintain your own bank accounts, approach this subject with love and care, so as to avoid unintentionally hurting your loved one.

Solution: Good Communication

As we all know, good communication is the key to any successful relationship – romantic or otherwise. In order to navigate the maze of marital finances (spending habits, debt, bank accounts and more) – you need to come together as one. Approach financial conversations with an open mind, while being cognizant and respectful of your partner’s personality and opinions. If at all possible, discuss your ideas about finances when you are still dating. It never hurts to get the ball rolling as soon as possible on a topic as loaded as this one. The sooner you begin to get comfortable talking about money, the better off you’ll be – long after you say “I do.”

 

 

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Are Money Worries Making You Sick?

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Do you find yourself stressing out over money issues lately? Or perhaps it’s been ongoing for awhile now. Either way, if you’ve got money problems that are causing you mental strain, angst or a general feeling of dread, you may actually be causing yourself real physical damage.

When you find yourself plagued by negative thoughts (in this case, about money), it’s not only your mental state you need to be concerned about. In fact, there have been a number of studies that show a direct correlation between fretting about your financials and failing physical health.

The correlation between worrying and your physical health is so strong that it simply should not be ignored. Because of  the association between worry and some significant health problems (high blood pressure, chronic migraines, heart attacks and debilitating back and neck pain), it’s crucial that you find an appropriate way to deal with your money worries. Failure to do so could put your health at serious risk.

Are you having trouble paying your mortgage bill? Has your car payment become more than you can handle? Is your electric company threatening to turn off your power if you don’t pay up soon? Are you dealing with seemingly insurmountable credit card bills/student loans/child support?

All of these things can lead to an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Along with the aforementioned physical health problems, long-standing, untreated anxiety can cause you to fall into a deep pit of depression.

Long-standing stressors can also make you more susceptible to infections like the common cold, the flu and other viruses. The more stressed you are, the more likely you will be to catch more serious and more frequent infections. This cause and effect relationship boils down to the fact that stress hormones like cortisol can interfere with your body’s ability to fight off infections.

If it seems like you always have a cold, or if your winter viruses linger long into the spring and even pop up during the summer, take a look at your overall stress level. Studies show that people who are under financial strain have a much harder time fighting off illnesses, and tend to stay sick longer then their more relaxed counterparts.

In fact, you may be up to five times more likely to come down with the cold or flu then people around you who are not under the same financial stress. You should take your body’s signals seriously, and if you’re consistently feeling ill, take inventory of the amount of stress you’re under.

If the primary source of your worry is financial, now is the time to reassess your budget. It may be that all you need is a budget overhaul. On the other hand, you may benefit from some certified credit counseling services in order to get your finances back on track.

If you’re reading this article here on our blog, it’s likely that you could benefit from taking a look around at some of our previous articles regarding money management and stress. Please feel free to read through all of our blog posts that may be pertinent to your own unique situation. Our hope is that you get your financial worry under control, and if you need to contact us, we would be glad to step in and help you.

Image credit: BHernandez

Achieve Your Money Goals in 2015 With These Tips

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If you’re a New Year’s resolution maker – the time has arrived. As 2015 rolls closer and closer into view, you may be thinking about dropping the extra weight that you resolve to wave goodbye to every year. Weight loss, eating better, quitting smoking and generally getting into better physical health are popular goals that many people set for themselves year after year, only to end up making similar promises the following January without making much (or any) progress. Getting physically healthy is so important that it should become a year-round goal for everyone.

Another area that deserves some serious commitment is financial health. It may be true that money can’t buy happiness, but it definitely buys peace of mind. And as far as we’re concerned, happiness and peace of mind go hand in hand.

Start this new year out with the determination and positive mindset necessary to commit to getting fit financially. Try some (or all) of these tips to help you achieve the monetary triumph you deserve.

  1. Ba-ba-ba-Budget!  Ok, ok, we know you’ve heard this one a million times before, but there’s a reason for that. Much like avoiding the scale because you’re too afraid of what it will say, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and run the numbers. How else will you know how much is really coming in and going out? Paying off debt, putting money aside for retirement, saving for your kids’ education – all of these are impossible if you don’t have a realistic budget in place.
  2. Check yourself.  Once a year, be sure to take a detailed look at your credit report to check for any mistakes or surprises. Since your credit score affects so many different parts of your life, (getting a loan, renting an apartment, landing a job, approval for insurance, etc) it’s imperative that you stay aware of your score. Checking your score every year in early January will turn it into a very valuable habit.
  3. Buy a darn coffee pot. If coffee isn’t your thing, figure out a way to give up, or at least significantly modify, your most expensive habit. Millions of Americans spend $4-$5 every day on a beverage that they could be making at home for around 20 CENTS. By taking a closer look at your daily expenditures, you’ll definitely be able to find something you can cut out. By putting that $5 a day into a savings account, you could rack up nearly $2,000 by New Year’s Day 2016.
  4. Get EXTREME.  Or maybe not extreme, but at least familiar. With couponing, that is. We’re not talking about acquiring a stockpile that takes over an entire room of your house – usually filled with things like condiments, shaving gel and toothpaste. That’s not useful to anyone! However, learning to shop strategically can save you 50% or more on your grocery bill! Never pay full price without checking for coupons, promo codes, or sales ever again.
  5. Be Mindful. We wholly support being mindful in every aspect of your life, and making mindful donations can be a win/win situation for everyone involved. Research charities before donating in order to make informed decisions about where your money will go. If an organization qualifies, your donation may be tax deductible.

Finally, if your financial situation is in dire straits, you may need to seek professional help from a financial advisor or an attorney experienced in debt negotiation, loan modifications and/or bankruptcy.

Do you have a financial improvement plan for 2015? Share your tips with us in the comments!

 

Image credit: Clement127