When you’re on the road to generating wealth, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll encounter conflicts of some kind—especially if your financial decisions affect another person (namely, your spouse). Regardless of whether these disputes are over major financial decisions or small purchases, you don’t want to let them get so out of hand that you need to hire a commercial litigation team that can handle a wide array of complex disputes to resolve them. Here are three tips to help you prevent conflicts over money before they even start:
Be Transparent and Honest
Honesty is the basis of any successful relationship, and this is especially true when it comes to your finances. Financial infidelity can create all kinds of problems in a relationship—including divorce—which is why it is vital that you be open and transparent about your finances. In fact, many experts recommend that you share financial information (such as debts and credit scores) before you even get married. This way, your current financial situation won’t come as a nasty surprise to your spouse after you tie the knot.
Financial transparency is even more important once you are married. Joint bank accounts and shared credit card information help ensure that both partners are on the same page and that nobody is hiding their financial transactions. Dishonest dealings with money can build resentment and distrust, ultimately eroding away at the foundations of the relationship.
Understand Your Partner
Each of us are unique, and this is especially true when it comes to how we deal with money. Each person has their own spending style that often reflects in their everyday decisions. You may wish to eat out once a week, while your spouse wants to save money by only eating out once a month. Much like other potential personality clashes, it is important that you take the time to understand your spouse’s preferences and have open communication regarding how you feel about the subject.
In many instances, your spouse’s money preferences are greatly influenced by their financial situation growing up. In addition to discussing your own feelings regarding finances, it may be a good idea to discuss the spending and saving habits you saw in your own family as a child.
Open, non-confrontational conversations on these topics can help both you and your spouse better understand each other and avoid future arguments regarding money.
Set a Budget
More often than not, arguments that occur because of money happen because of poor communication. For example, if you’re a saver and your spouse likes to go on monthly shopping trips, you’ll probably have a few arguments regarding your desire to save and your spouse’s need to make purchases she feels are necessary for your home.
However, setting a budget can often be an effective way of reaching a compromise regarding spending and saving habits. When setting a budget, be sure to leave room for saving a significant amount of your income while not making the budget so strict that it is impossible to stick to. A clearly defined budget that both you and your spouse agree upon will make it significantly easier to examine your financial situation without arguing.
Of course, setting a budget won’t do you much good if you don’t regularly review your financial situation. Make plans with your spouse to look over your budget at least once a month so you can analyze your finances and make any necessary adjustments.
While disagreements over money can be a major source of stress in a relationship, they don’t have to be as long as you are honest and transparent. As you and your spouse work together to better understand each other’s money preferences and establish a budget, you can avoid this common marital pitfall and achieve both financial and marital success.