As you’ve probably heard by now, money is one of the leading causes of divorce in this country. Many couples avoid broaching the topic in an attempt to avoid clashing over their cash. But it’s important to be able to talk openly about your attitudes toward money. How each of you handles your money is a big deal … and can, in fact, be the deal-breaker. Understanding each other’s money styles can help you get on the same financial page -- sans the fighting. Here’s how to start seeing the same shade of green:
We've all been raised by parents with different financial philosophies, and as a result, developed our own unique approach to money. Unfortunately, we rarely fall for someone who shares our own ideas about spending and savings. So it’s important to get to know each other on a whole new level -- the dollar bill level. Open the lines of communication by simply asking about your partner’s attitude toward spending and saving, and short-term and long-term financial goals. And don’t just assume that if you have the same style, that everything’s kosher. Remember: Two spenders could be just as much trouble as a saver and spender.
Find your middle money ground
Instead of trying to change each other's spending habits, try to look for similarities, so you can at least find a happy medium when it comes to issues like saving for retirement, investing and splurges. Start by discussing your individual financial goals and see if you can compromise on a set of goals you can both work toward: Do you want to own or rent a house? Do you want start saving for retirement right away or spend freely for a few years?
Embrace your differences
If you are a spender and he’s a saver, you don’t have to bring him over to the dark side. Just set up individual checking accounts where you can each contribute an agreed upon amount to use as you see fit. You may want to spend it on new boots or a flat screen, while your frugal partner may want to invest it or save it for a rainy day.
Agree to disagree (on occasion)
In most cases, you’ll have to accept that there will always be a difference of opinion regarding certain smaller matters. While it’s important to share the same financial goals and agree on the major things (like how you will save for the future and how you will handle your bills right now), if you don’t feel the same way about which stocks to invest in or whether you need term or whole life insurance, it’s probably best to let it go -- at least for now. Otherwise, it's going to be a constant source of tension. Focus on what you both want in life and figuring out how you will get there (financially speaking) together.