There are many reasons why arguments arise within a family on money management. This article is based on articles by Investopedia (www.investopedia.com/articles) that discuss money issues in families. Investopedia establishes the following as the most common financial issues that challenge married couples:
Sometimes, when each spouse works and cannot agree on financial issues or find the time to talk about them, they decide to split the bills down the middle or allocate them in some other fair and equitable manner. When the bills have been covered, each spouse can spend what they have left as they see fit. It sounds like a reasonable plan, but the process often builds resentment over the individual purchases made. And it can lead to relationship-ruining behavior like financial infidelity, where-in one spouse hides money from the other.
Bill splitting also pushes down the road any planning and consensus-building about how financial burdens will be handled if one spouse loses a job; decides to cut back on hours or take a pay cut to try out a new career which may require that one partner may have to support the other financially.
Personality can play a significant role in discussions and habits about money. Even if both partners are debt-free, the age-old conflict between spenders and savers can play out multiple ways. It is essential to know what your money personality is — as well as that of your partner—and to discuss these differences openly.
Briefly, some people are natural savers who may be viewed as cheapskates and risk-averse, some are big spenders and like to make a statement, and others take pleasure in shopping and buying. Others rack up debt — often mindlessly — while some are natural investors who delay satisfaction for future self-sufficiency. Whichever profile you and your spouse most closely fit, it’s best to recognise bad habits, address them, and moderate them.
From school loans to car loans to credit cards to gambling habits, most people come to the altar with financial baggage. If one partner has more debt than the other—or if one partner is debt-free—the sparks can start to fly when discussions about income, spending, and debt servicing come up.
Power plays often occur in one of these scenarios:
- One partner has a paid job, and the other does not.
- Both partners would like to be working, but one is
- One spouse earns considerably more than the other.
- One partner comes from a family that has money, and the other does not.
When one or more of these situations is present, the money earner (or the one who makes or has the most money) often wants to dictate the couple’s spending priorities. Although there may be some rationale behind this idea, it is still important that both partners cooperate as a team. Keep in mind that while a joint account offers greater transparency and access, it is not in itself a solution to an unbalanced power/money dynamic in a marriage.
Food, clothing, shelter, sports, ballet, branded jeans, the latest mobile, and education are part of a long list of child-related expenses. These do not include expenditures for children who have already left the nest. That’s assuming your kids will leave the nest.
Of course, having kids is not just about the cost. If one partner cuts their hours, works from home, or leaves a career to raise children, couples should address how that changes marriage dynamics, assumptions about retirement, lifestyle, and more.