In my 20+ years as a financial advisor I found that there are some fundamental areas that cause chasms among couples and my aim has been to close those divides. By understanding specifically why they fight, I could better serve them. - Jeff Motske
(PRWEB) June 30, 2015
Frequent fighting about money can undermine a relationship. In fact, financial conflict is #1 reason for divorce. In an effort to help couples restore harmony in their relationships, certified financial planner Jeff Motske wrote a book, "The Couples Guide To Financial Compatibility," that offers constructive advice and easy-to-implement exercises that have helped his clients for more than 20 years.
”I had no idea when I launched my career that my role as a financial advisor would expand into sometimes serving as a marriage counselor,” he quipped. “I found that there are some fundamental areas that cause chasms among couples and my aim has been to close those divides. By understanding specifically why they fight, I could better serve them.”
Motske’s research led to this Top 7 list of why couples fight about money:
· I’m a Spender You’re a Saver – One likes to dine out, go to the movies, enjoy drinks with friends, etc. and the other wants to stay home “to save money.” Or, in a grander sense, he wants to buy an expensive boat and she wants to save the money for the kids’ college education. Differences between savers & spenders often cause resentment and can eventually deteriorate the relationship.
· Blowing the Top off a Secret – He secretly holds his own credit card and has amassed considerable debt that she knows nothing about, she discovers a hidden bank account with substantial funds, she’s sending money to relatives without letting him know, etc. When secrets are revealed, the bond of trust is undermined and relationship is often damaged if not severed. Most of us aren’t accustomed to revealing everything about our finances before we get married, so it’s easy for couples—often with the best of intentions—to be tangoing with some financial interests on the side with their partner none the wiser.
· Financial Irresponsibility – He’s racking up parking tickets and not paying them, she’s late paying the mortgage and getting dinged with related fees and penalties (not to mention having their credit score lowered), he’s making frivolous purchases (i.e., lottery tix, Starbucks, fast food, gadgets, etc.) that, when added up, can be costly. Such irresponsible behaviors tend to cause friction and fighting.
· I Splurge, You Can’t – Problems occur when one believes he/she has a right to splurge on purchases, yet won’t tolerate it when the other wants to do the same. Typically, the breadwinner feels entitled to splurge without talking it over with his/her spouse. Should the partner attempt to do the same, a power struggle can ensue and damage the relationship.
· You Don’t Make Enough Money – Resentment can build when one spouse believes that the other is not making enough money to support the family or isn’t “pulling his/her own weight.” Often complicating this scenario is when one misleads the other about their financial status while dating, only to have the truth revealed once they’ve gotten married.
· Establishing Winners & Losers -- One of the biggest traps couples fall into is making unilateral financial decisions. This makes each decision a zero sum game with one winner and one loser to the argument. And with each new decision, the old scoreboard looms in the background with one partner or both trying to settle the old score. This is a recipe for disaster.
· Not Discussing the "What If’s" – Over a lifetime, couples face any number of difficult circumstances i.e., should we let mother-in-law with dementia come live with us? Will we risk it all and start that new business? Should we hire your brother to be our financial advisor? Having “what if” discussions on a regular basis in a calm rational manner help avoid big fights later on.
In Motske’s book, he suggests a number of ways couples can avoid getting themselves in these situations. Among them is making a monthly “financial date,” where the couple visits one of their favorite restaurants and, in a relaxed and comfortable environment, discusses issues that are of most importance to them and how they can work together to achieve their dreams. He also has a free 34-question financial compatibility quiz that helps start the conversation going; it can be found at jeffmotske.com.
Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation. (NPC) Member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Trilogy Financial and NPC are separate and unrelated entities.