A new Galaxy survey of 1000 people nationwide, conducted on behalf of Fox Symes, the leading provider of debt solutions in Australia, found that fighting about money is causing couples major stress.
One in five people across both genders, and all age brackets, has experienced either arguments with their partner or considered splitting up due to worries about finances and outstanding debts.
Married people were significantly more prone to fighting and thoughts of breaking up over money (22 per cent) compared to those not married (11 per cent).
A greater number of people with kids had also argued over the issue (24 per cent) compared to those without kids (15 per cent).
If money is melting your relationship, put a stop to the madness by putting these practical suggestions into place:
1. Become more money-minded
If money matters bore you to tears, it’s time to suck it up. It’s no good racing off to watch Game of Thrones every time a discussion about a bill arises, particularly if you have kids. Every parent needs to make sure their kids are financially taken care of. It’s not so much about how much you bring in, but how you manage money once you have it.
Both parties should be comfortably in control. If not, bitterness may arise if only one makes all the money decisions. Fox Symes’ senior manager Victor Sun says couples should regularly make “money dates”.
“Make a regular time to go through accounts, review bills and budgets,” he suggests. “See where you can trim some fat and cut back on expenses. Or perhaps each of you can call providers to negotiate cheaper rates. Try as much as you can to get on the same page.”
2. Make life easier with automation
Setting up automatic payments is something all couples should do as you avoid fighting about forgotten bills or not putting money aside. You probably won’t end up fighting about something you don’t need to think about!
3. Stash your own cash
Are you secretly (or not so secretly) a mad spender whilst your partner is a miserly Ebenezer Scrooge? Or is it vice versa? Wildly different spending patterns can cause resentment quicker than you can say “stone-cold broke”. Set everyone in the family a spending limit. For example you and your spouse could agree on a sum of $100 a month to each spend however you want. If you want to go above the limit ask your partner first if it’s okay, which shows you respect their opinion and are willing to negotiate or be open about purchases.
4. Fix problems with practical measures
If the fights are grinding the two of you into the ground, make each other accountable with measurable steps. Get a free budget app such as Goodbudget or Unsplurge or get a separate account if sharing a joint one is too hard. If thing are really going downhill consider seeking out a psychologist or financial counsellor who can help your communication strategies.
5. Keep calm and carry on sensibly
So it’s hard not to screech in a fight, especially if you’re really peeved, but yelling rarely improves anything. Screaming out, “You’re sending us broke!” probably isn’t going to stop the rot and will only make your partner defensive. Try to calmly explain your feelings by saying, “I get upset when we spend money on things unnecessarily. Is there a reason that you really want this item? How can we find a solution where both of us is happy?” However no-one likes a nag, so if you feel like you’re just not getting the message through, counselling with a neutral party may be the way to go.