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Money Wars: 4 Hot Buttons for Couples

Feel like you’re constantly bickering about money with your honey? Learn the danger zones and how to troubleshoot them.

You love your spouse, but when it comes to money, ever find yourselves in opposite corners…with boxing gloves on? Chalk it up to bad timing. “People are getting married later on average, which means they’re entering the relationship with more financial baggage than ever before,” says Beth Kobliner, author of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties. “You’ve racked up savings as well as debt, and developed personal spending habits that are hard to change." Here’s how to not let it derail your twosome:

Hot Button 1: Opposite Spending Styles
When a spender and a saver get together, it’s a recipe for resentment. How can you not roll your eyes when he overspends or when she overreacts about each cent you blow?

Cool it:
First, stop harping on her shoe-shopping syndrome or his gadget-buying fixation. You’re never going to turn a spender into a penny-pincher, but you can reach a middle ground. “Agree on a set monthly amount you can each put toward a fun purchase that the other can’t veto,” Kobliner says. “The spender won’t feel controlled, and the saver can sock away cash for a more practical, big-picture buy down the road.”

Hot Button 2: Student Loans
You love how smart your significant other is…if only that freakin’ degree didn’t dump $100,000 of student loan debt in your mailbox.

Cool it:
Just like you can’t adore your partner’s hair but hate their nose, you can’t pick and choose what financial circumstances you want them to have. “You need to accept the full package -- the good and bad,” says Kobliner. What if you feel the pinch too much right now? “Extend the life of the loan,” advises Kobliner. “You’ll pay a little more interest over time but it will give you both a breather in the short term.”


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