You’ve heard it a million times – fights over money are the No. 1 cause for divorce among American couples.
That goes for all walks of life and cuts across all income levels.
You would think our roughly 50 percent divorce rate would have more to do with things like who gets to hold the TV remote control, who doesn’t take out the garbage or who snores like a bulldog.
But battles over money can get so bitter and be so divisive, they can spell the end for you and your honey.
According to a Utah State University study, couples who argued over money once a week were more than 30 percent more likely to get divorced than those who had similar fights a few times a month.
Now think: How often does it come up in your marriage?
In her book, “The Problem with Money? It’s Not About the Money!” certified public accountant Jane Honeck says the way you and your spouse talk about money is just as important as how often you do it.
“Focusing on an overall vision and money plan will keep both of you moving in the same direction,” she writes.
“Once you have done that, the small everyday decisions about what to spend your money on take care of themselves with little or no effort. When we have clear communication and know why we do something, the ‘what to do’ with our money is easy.”
She offers some advice on how to navigate the rough waters of couples finance in order to keep your marriage on a smooth sail. Here are some choice tidbits:
• Talk about money early and often. You have to understand your partners feelings, ideas and concepts about money before you can do anything else.
• Share money responsibilities equally. Putting just one person in charge of paying the bills and feeding savings sets you up for a climate of blame, distrust and misunderstanding.
Instead, sit side by side and work things out together. That way, there are no surprises and you’ll both be on the same page about everything.
You may get annoyed with each other at first, but it will get easier. I promise.
• Decide what is yours, mine and ours. The only right answer is what you decide together.
• Spell out a detailed plan for everyday financial housekeeping, covering everything from how the mail is collected and organized to who mails out the checks. Write out which responsibility is whose to maintain accountability.
• Address problems head on. Avoiding or covering up issues will only make them worse.
• Schedule what Honeck calls “money checkups” to make sure you’re still on the same page from time to time.
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Divide up money duties and address problems head on.