Living in (Financial) Disharmony: 4 Reasons Couples Stress About Money

Living in (Financial) Disharmony: 4 Reasons Couples Stress About Money

Oil and water. Prints and patterns. Business and pleasure.

Love and money?

If you’ve ever felt like those last two things don’t mix well, you aren’t alone. In a recent survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 47% of respondents indicated that disagreeing about money was a top stressor in their relationships.

Meanwhile, another 25% of participants named financial infidelity as a significant source of stress. 14% said they'd worry about a partner who was a spendthrift; 2% said someone who was too frugal would drive them crazy.


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If you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on financial matters, it can feel like you’re speaking different languages. But it’s important to keep talking.

“Most people have a different approach to money management than their spouse or partner,” says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Understanding those differences means having honest discussions early in a relationship so the rules are mutually accepted and the financial goals are clear.”

To help you get communicating, the NFCC offers some guidelines—like adhering to a strict policy of financial transparency. That means being completely honest about any debt or sources of income.

“Financial infidelity should be taken as seriously as any other form of cheating," the NFCC advises.

Moreover, when it comes to working toward your joint financial goals, remember that you and your partner are playing for the same team. Whether you’re saving up for your first home or working together to pay off debt, it’s important for each partner to be supportive of the other—and flexible when circumstances change.

For more tips on weathering difficult discussions with your significant other, check out February's Cash Conversation, and find out what to say when your work life starts eating into your relationship.


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