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7 Ways to Reduce Money Conflicts in Your Marriage

Last week we talked about the top 10 reasons for divorce, and money (financial issues), is continually cited as one of the most prevalent reasons that couples get divorced. The underlying issue most of the time is actually lack of communication. The key to defusing the money issues in your marriage is to talk about money, and your individual histories and perspectives on money. When you marry, you're marrying your spouse's financial history as well, so it is important to be informed and have these discussions ahead of time, if possible. Ideally this would happen before you get married, but if you are already married, it's not too late to have these discussions. So, in this week's blog we are going to talk about some tips on how to approach the topic of money in your marriage, and things you can do to keep money from causing issues in your marriage.

Discuss how money was handled in your immediate family. How money was handled by your parents is a good indicator of your likely unspoken views and thoughts about money.

Discuss your past experiences with money. Have you overspent in the past? Has money caused issues in previous relationships? What type of investments do you like to make?

Have monthly discussion regarding your finances. Whether you keep your individual finances separate or decide to manage the jointly, it is very important to have regular discussions about your combined financial situation. Share your checking, savings and credit card statements regularly and decide together how much you want to keep in savings, etc.

Develop a budget. Developing a joint budget ensures that you both know where your moey goes. Categorizing your expenses is easier than ever today, with readily available and inexpensive software. Budgeting can be an extremely useful tool for couples who have continually overspent in the past, or just don't know where there money goes each month.

Decide how much debt is tolerable. Ideally no debt going into the relationship gives you a fresh start on making decisions regarding how to spend your combined income, however realistically this is usually not the case. Decide together on how much you both are comfortable with in regards to a car payment or mortgage. Experts recommend that non-mortgage debt should not exceed 10-15% of monthly take-home pay.

Be smart about credit. Each person should have their own personal credit history, so each partner should have at least one credit card in their name. Again it is important to discuss when it is appropriate to use the credit cards and what the limits are for the spending.

Establish a "monthly allowance" for each partner. With all the joint goals and decisions that you make in your relationship, each person should have an agreed upon amount of money that they can spend as they please. Don't question or judge your spouse's choices for spending their money. Also, the amount does not have to be the same for each partner, but both partners should feel that the amounts are fair.

(Source: Defusing Money Issues, Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com)

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