Money is among the most significant sources of fights between couples. Finances can be a very challenging topic for couples to discuss. A newly married couple that has gotten along tremendously but suddenly finds itself sharing finances can have a whole new set of problems. For those engaged, discussing finances in advance can save a lot of heartache. There can be differences in how each views saving and spending and they can have different financial priorities. Financial counseling is not a substitute for a financial planner (but a referral will be made). We will not discuss specifically how to invest your money or recommend any investment products, but can focus more on understanding and agreeing on financial goals.
Some couples argue over $20 purchases if they don’t discuss them together first. Others argue more about more significant priorities like saving for college or retirement. Some couples keep finances separate, some together, and some use a mixture.
Money can be a sensitive topic for just about any couple—career goals factor in, as well as a desire for work-life balance. Likewise, childcare considerations can relate to money and whether one or both partners stay home if kids are involved. Couples may need to have open discussions about retirement counseling.
Finances can be tied to core values. Talking about money should not be shameful or mean someone is greedy or materialistic. Financial resources can bring security, peace, independence, pleasure, status, and stress. While one parent staying at home to take care of kids is very admirable, sometimes it makes sense for that person to keep working on training and other job skills just in case things go bad with the relationship. Understanding what money means to a partner as related to their goals and values can be an essential step toward increasing relationship satisfaction. Discussing finances is crucial in any relationship or marriage counseling program and can help strengthen your relationship.
Sharing Money is Difficult
You are two different people. You have different wants, needs, and goals. Suddenly you have one bank account, and your partner’s spending habits are likely to cause distress. Sometimes it’s about more than just a purchase but whether it aligns with what you have or have not talked about wanting for your relationship or family. Disagreements can arise when one person believes the other is cheap. Whatever the reasons, this is a prevalent relationship issue, particularly in marriages. Marriage counseling can help sort this out.
The first step is talking about your financial and relationship goals. For example, if you plan to buy a house, do you need to buy a nice new rug that may not match your new decor? What is your relationship with debt? Do you max out your credit cards, use debt sparingly, or follow the Dave Ramsey plan? You may need a referral to a financial planner to discuss specifics about saving and investing. Still, relationship counseling can help you examine and come to a compromise on your life and financial goals. It is imperative for a committed couple to discuss and come to an understanding regarding finances.
That is outside the scope of marriage counseling, but you could receive a referral for a great financial planner.
It may take discussions to accept that your spending habits are going to be different. Some couples come up with an amount they can spend without discussing it or hearing about it from their partner. Some couples create small individual accounts that each can use at their discretion for whatever they want. Some couples meet weekly to talk about the outstanding and upcoming bills and the planned expenses for the week. In some marriages, the couple works closely together to manage the finances (usually recommended), and in others, one person likes doing that work. Having transparency and shared access to shared accounts (e.g. not only one person knows the password to view back statements) is critical.
Only you can answer that question, but we can help you understand the pro’s and con’s
For Ohio couples counseling questions, please visit the main frequently asked questions page.
Cardinal Point Counseling in Dublin, Ohio, specializes in helping you discuss your financial concerns, goal setting based on values, and other relationship concerns. In addition, the office is convenient to the Columbus, Ohio area.
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