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5 Money Mistakes Couples Should Avoid

By: , – Stacey L. Bradford, Family Circle
6/5/2012 6:00 AM   :  20 comments   :  17,483 Views

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1. Financial Infidelity Eighty percent of married people spend money their spouses don't know about—usually to avoid conflict—according to CESI Debt Solutions, a debt-counseling organization. But hiding a large purchase or getting a credit card on the sly erodes trust, which is essential to a healthy relationship, says Doug Welpton, M.D., author of Attract Love, Intimacy and Money: Use Your Mind to Get What You Want.
 
Couples Therapy: Track where the family's money goes by linking all accounts to a financial planning website like Mint.com or BudgetTracker.com. Once a year, review both spouses' credit reports for inaccuracies, says Ruth Hayden, author of For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples. If your husband refuses to share his, he may be hiding something. 
 
2. Letting Personalities Clash Many of us marry someone of a financial persuasion opposite our own, says David Bach, founder of FinishRich.com. But what initially sparks attraction—our differences—can pull couples apart. The partner of someone who overspends may feel resentful if it seems like she's the only one working toward a savings goal. The bigger spender may also rack up debt that's difficult to pay off.
 
Couples Therapy: Set a time to discuss your family's values and long-term objectives, says Bach. (If you can't agree, bring in a third party, such as a financial planner.) Savers should understand that it's okay to spend now and then—as long as it's properly budgeted for—while spenders must learn to stick to savings goals.
 
3. Unilateral Delegation Too many couples assign bill paying and investing to just one partner. While it may seem more convenient, it leaves the other person uninformed. This could be dangerous if something were to happen to the more financially focused partner, and it also prevents the other spouse from achieving empowerment.
 
Couples Therapy: Create a cheat sheet with bank account and credit card numbers (including passwords), as well as investment and insurance policy information. Even if one person writes all the checks, a couple should get together once a month to review the family's bills, says Bach. And both spouses should attend meetings with the accountant.
 
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Comments

  • 20
    "What tips have helped you financially?"

    Two words: Dave Ramsey

    www.DaveRamsey.com

    - 11/17/2012   10:57:43 AM
  • 19
    Great article well worth the time - 10/11/2012   2:17:35 PM
  • 18
    I recommend Dave Ramsey's courses and books to deal with these issues. As for # 1 my wise grandpa said as part of his marriage counseling that each one should have some money (he called it an allowance) to spend on anything they want and the other can't criticize. If money is tight even $5 a month of your own helps emotionally. - 9/13/2012   10:36:33 PM
  • 17
    My husband and I will check in with the other before making purchases of $50 dollars or more (excluding regular purchases such as fuel or groceries). That way we can both access if the purchase is a need or merely a want and discuss what we may have to give up to make said purchase. - 6/10/2012   2:54:41 PM
  • 16
    is it just me or is that three things... - 6/7/2012   6:32:03 PM
  • 15
    I watch how much I spend monthly on anything. thanks for sharing and the advice too. There's only me and I'm what my friends call me " a tight wad" b/c i keep track on things. - 6/7/2012   5:05:06 PM
  • 14
    If you are not working together on your financial matters the rest will go away too. You both have to be on the same page. - 6/6/2012   3:12:52 PM
  • 2DIETORNOT2DIET
    13
    My husband never wanted to know anything about our financial affairs, if I had of pass before him, he would not of had a clue of what to do. I did try for a long time to get him interested but that never happen. - 6/6/2012   11:34:52 AM
  • 12
    I like that term "financial infidelity". My parents suffered from this (my dad hid his business losses from us) and it nearly tore my family apart. Having witnessed this, I been very careful and very open with finances with my husband now. We've been married just under a year and are still in the process of figuring this all out. We are very open about what money goes where but I still think it's better if we worked out a real system. I think monthly check-ins are an easy way for us to start. But eventually, I think we'll need true joint accounts (right now, we're both on each other's checking accounts but only the original "owner" can see what goes in and out). - 6/6/2012   11:25:56 AM
  • 11
    David Bach of "Finish Rich" is right that people marry others with different money views. I certainly married the wrong person when it came to money as I planned to have a lot of investments, but he would have nothing to do with it. Being a woman I needed HIS signature on everything, so nothing got done. BUT, he bought a house without my having to have anything to say about it and we are still living in it 30 yrs later while real estate prices went up and up. This article was very interesting. - 6/5/2012   3:08:40 PM
  • 10
    What great advice! - 6/5/2012   2:45:05 PM
  • EALFARO10
    9
    Taking care of our financial obligations hasn't always been an easy task for me. Took some advice from a co-worker to get my husband involved with the bills to take some pressure off of me. Things have been much better, now I feel it's both OUR responsibility rather than just mine. It has brought us closer together and I can't stress how important communication is.... - 6/5/2012   12:25:35 PM
  • 8
    Haven't been married in many years, but whoo-boy did we make financial mistakes. Financial infidelity is still possible even with linked information and budget sites. Those don't say where ATM money goes, they don't separate "groceries" from cash back at the grocery store. It takes real honesty with both our partner and ourselves for that to be successful. - 6/5/2012   12:07:24 PM
  • 7
    Financial issues are a major source of conflict in relationships - good advice offered here!
    Best wishes to all the couples out there. - 6/5/2012   10:46:15 AM
  • 6
    One of the best things about being single: I don't have to answer to anyone about my spending/saving/investing decisions. Then again, that could also be one of the worst things, lol. - 6/5/2012   10:25:24 AM
  • CINDYB3511
    5
    good advice - 6/5/2012   10:04:08 AM
  • GAYLE119
    4
    This was one of the reasons my marriage broke up........I would hide the bills from him and rob Peter to pay Paul until I would get too far in debt, then I would tell him. This is a very good article......too bad I didfn't see these things earlier! - 6/5/2012   9:46:11 AM
  • 3
    Over the past couple of years, my SO and I have gotten into the habit of having "check-in chats" every few months about our financial situation and goals. When we began, I had a pile of credit card debt, plus student loans, and he had a car loan. Our spending habits may not have been inline with paying those off more quickly. Annually, I write up a financial profile that tallies up our savings vs. our debts, and this helps us focus on our goals and budget accordingly. We have since wiped out the credit cards and the car loan, bought another car and paid cash, and I've been paying down the student loans ahead of schedule. So, communicate to know where you are, and where you both want to be.
    I'm the primary "check-writer," but I've created a little checklist of our monthly expenses to refer to at a glance to know which bills are paid so far each month. Sounds silly, but I even take a moment to be thankful everytime I check a box! And especially when they're all checked off for the month. - 6/5/2012   8:54:25 AM
  • SUNSETSEEKER
    2
    If you want true financial freedom, take a Dave Ramsey course - it is fantastic!
    You will learn to live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else. Wonderful class, enjoyed it. This article was great also. Thanks. - 6/5/2012   7:32:48 AM
  • EJAMES075
    1
    THIS IS GREAT ADVICE. THANKS
    SO MUCH - 6/5/2012   7:01:15 AM

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