Relationship advice: talking about money is a good strategy

a couple facing each other on a sofa arguing

When it comes to marriage and finance, talking about money doesn't have to end up in an argument and it could improve the relationship. Picasa Web Albums photo.

Finances have always been a cause of stress in relationships. The financial stress of the Great Recession has turned up the volume. A recent study about finances and marriage proved the obvious by showing that the more a couple fights about money, the more likely they will split. Money destroys relationships. But here’s some relationship advice:  Financial strategy can enhance a marriage or partnership. The problem is that couples don’t want to talk about money, and that eventually gets them into trouble.

Couples avoid talking about money

Almost one in three couples say personal finance causes the most stress in their relationship, and 91 percent of Americans surveyed by a recent American Express Spending & Saving Tracker find reasons to avoid talking about money with their partner. Ruth Mantell at the Wall Street Journal reports that when it comes to finance and marriage, the survey said people are more likely to know their partner’s weight than their salary. However, in tough times, talking about money and financial strategy is important for couples to deal with financial stress, like losing a job.

Financial strategy improves a relationship

It’s no wonder couples avoid talking about money. The same American Express Survey found that 45 percent of the couples responding said talking about money resulted in arguments. Relationship advice from Emma Johnson at Forbes suggests turning the tables and using financial strategy to improve a relationship. The way a couple approaches personal finance, saving, spending, earning and investing can actually be points of bonding and affection.

Tempers flare during tough times

Bonding over personal finance during tough times is easier said than done, however. StrategyOne recently surveyed a representative sampling of more than 1,000 Americans and found that 77 percent said the Great Recession has significantly changed their outlook on life. More Americans are getting angry easier, getting depressed, and  screaming and yelling more often. The recession is causing people to delay getting married, having children or retiring.

Start talking about money

The StrategyOne survey also found that more people are also putting off getting a divorce for financial reasons. So perhaps that buys some time for couples to work on their personal finance situation. The relationship advice in Mantell’s article includes five money tips for couples in tough times. Number one is to start talking. That makes it easier to work together on adjusting to changes in income. Couples need to fess up to each other about their spending and their assets. If necessary, cancel vacation reservations, eat the cost, look for a job and look ahead.

Manage money as a team

Couples not facing sudden financial stress still bicker about money. Johnson’s Forbes article suggests that managing money as a team can lead to a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. When it comes to marriage and finance, understanding a partner’s spending habits helps a couple get to know one another better. Delegating money tasks is another way to build trust and improve communication. If both partners agree on goals about saving, spending and returns on investments, perhaps they will eventually be celebrating that golden anniversary when the Great Recession is a distant memory.

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