How couples can stop fighting about money

Follow these simple tips to improve your relationship and your family's finances

By Jordan Niefeld

Jun 18, 2015 @ 9:56 am EST

Are you constantly worried about all the bickering and blaming when it comes to money within your relationship? Well, you are not alone. Follow these simple tips to improve your relationship and your family's finances.

1. Lack of communication is one of the biggest reasons why couples have financial unrest. One of the best ways to combat this is to set up a financial date night. In a relaxed environment, start a conversation in the spirit of open communication about the family's finances. Try and take the emotion out of the discussion and focus more on the tangible, concrete steps that both parties in the relationship can do to get the financial security you both desire.

2. Most of the time couples wait too long to combat their financial woes after they realize that they are in trouble. You may already be in debt, already overspending on a monthly basis, or need to decide on matters relating to the children — for example, how are we going to get our little ones through college? Some great advice is to build a plan together. I call it the one-pager. Write down both partners' ideas on a one-page paper, which acts as a blueprint charting where your spending will be going (this can include both short-term and longer-term needs). Most people know where their money comes in from, but many have a difficult time tracking their expenses. Once the consistent tracking of expenses takes place, you may soon realize that there are ways for you to reduce expenses and you can begin saving your surplus for your reserve funds or investing for retirement.

3. Financial transparency is critical to successfully reduce the amount of fighting about money. Couples should not hide their financial tendencies and behavior from each other. Be forthright on your spending habits. Often an unexpected event happens that triggers financial hardship at a critical time. That is an opportunity to seek a qualified financial adviser or certified financial planner to help you through this stressful time and come up with a game plan for improving your family's finances.

4. Both partners should play to each other's strengths. One partner may be better with details, so budgeting may be his or her strength. The other may be better with formulating long-term financial outlooks, researching investments and managing portfolios. Play to what you do best within the relationship.

5. Focus on the important things in life. Ideally, each partner wants to be happy and continue to build a life together. Each spouse has dreams and goals that motivate the couple to provide for one another. With proper financial planning and advice, family members can achieve exactly what they set out to do, while at the same time reducing their stress and emotional baggage when it comes to money.

Jordan Niefeld is a certified financial planner and CPA at Raymond James & Associates in Aventura, Fla. He provides clients with a broad comprehensive strategy to allow them to pursue their goals in the most tax efficient manner.

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