Couples and Money

As a Marriage and Family therapist on Long Island, I would say that finances, how the couple spends their money, is the most common presenting problem. It doesn't make a difference if you and your spouse have money or don't have money. If the two of you have different spending habits, different saving goals, different thoughts about investing, or different fears about not having money, then financial problems will eventually surface in your marriage. Talking about finances with your partner is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Psychologists say that many people will talk about anything before they'll talk about their finances. Why is it so difficult for us to talk about money? Perhaps because money symbolizes different things to different people: power, control, security, or love. It's been estimated that money issues are the driving forces in 90% of divorces. The following are practical suggestions for dealing with this emotionally charged topic with your spouse. First, find a neutral time to discuss finances. Don't wait until your spouse has charged up the credit card to approach the topic. The goal is to have a calm, relaxed discussion when there are no specific money issues at hand. Share your feelings, experiences, and hopes about money. Discuss how your parents dealt with money, what it meant to you when you were growing up and how you dealt with it in past relationships. You also need to be honest with yourself about these feelings in order to be honest with your partner. If you can't seem to talk about finances, seek out a counselor to help you through your financial issues. This could be a financial counselor, therapist or a marriage counselor.

Remember that money can be a tool that can strengthen your marriage or it can become a wedge between the two of you. The following are the top seven financial questions for couples to discuss:

  1. Location of important documents, do you both know where important documents such as insurance, wills, tax information, bank account numbers, and investment information are located?
  2. Current debts and assets, how much do the two of you owe in debts and what are your assets?
  3. Budget, where does the money go? It is important to know how your money is being spent
  4. Financial planning, do you have financial goals for the future?
  5. Financial vulnerability, where are the two of you most vulnerable in your finances? Is it a lack of job security, over spending, not enough income, or too much debt?
  6. Bill paying, who actually sits down to pay the bills? Do you do this together or has one of you volunteered for this task? Reevaluate if the way you have set it up is working or not
  7. Financial difference, how do you think that your upbringing, culture, and gender are influencing how you approach money?

If money has been causing any argument in your relationship, feel free to click below to learn more, or give me a call at 631.692.9689.


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