Posted by Advantage Tax Services, Inc.

How to Overcome Money Conflict with Your Partner

How to Overcome Money Conflict with Your Partner

Focusing on the road to get to the goal is easier when both partners agree to it and financial planning is simpler when both of them share the same values. For couples who aren’t quite on the same page, it shouldn’t be seen as an indictment or criticism of either partner. You are entitled to your own values and beliefs as humans. However, often times when money is involved, it can get very difficult, emotional and challenging to navigate the conflict.

Say, for example, you want to make sure you leave your children the wealth you and your partner created, nothing else matters. But your partner says it’s okay to leave the kids with something but it shouldn’t be enough to spoil them. Your partner suggests using the money you’ve saved up on travels and enjoying life together, adding that you both worked so hard all these years, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour. 

The arguments start from the two of you not seeing eye-to-eye with your financial plans. You didn’t care about travel, you just want a simple life, less stuff, and spend time with children because that’s what enjoyment is for you. While your partner no longer wants to sit around and watch your children grow especially because they now have lives that don’t revolve around their parents anymore.

As you can see, there seems to be no end with this kind of conversation because each of you digs in a little deeper as the conversation goes on. It’s highly possible that this will lead to conflict instead of a resolution.

Stepping back is a good way to resolve this kind of fundamental difference in mind-set. You and your partner must look back to how you individually grew up around money and how your beliefs were created and fostered by those experiences. 

In connection with the above situation, think about what will happen if this was the situation:

In order to provide basic needs for survival, your parents who were immigrants had to work eighty-hours per week. When their grandchildren were still at a young age, they died in their early 60s. They left everything they saved to their children so they weren’t able to really enjoy their retirement.

Your partner’s family, on the other hand, may not be wealthy, but clearly belonged to the upper middle class. They were able to spend their extended retirement years traveling in different countries, spent quality time with their children and grandchildren, attended cultural events and other fun activities.

Now that we brought back the history of how your parents and your partner’s family handled their money, you will realize how this had a profound impact on each of your beliefs about money as a couple as well. Each of you had different experiences in your formative years and you both considered your own beliefs as “normal”. As a result, you clash.

When navigating their financial lives, many couples face similar challenges and make decisions because they feel comfortable and familiar, not because they are looking after themselves.

It’s important that you and your other half work through the discussion together or with the assistance of your financial planner to address the conflict you have around money. You may also consider working with a marriage counsellor who is well experienced and trained with money issues at the same time become your couple therapist.

Create positive conversations around money through these following tips:

  • It’s recommended that you set a mutually convenient time when both of you are energized.
  • Your conversation must not be distracted or interrupted so find a private place to talk.
  • It will most likely result in frustration if you both proceed with open-ended discussions so make sure you agree on a topic and time limit.
  • Setting up ground rules will help both of you deliver your thoughts across in a better way. For example: When the other one speaks, the other one listens without interruption. Do not ask questions that are judgmental.
  • Recall both of your history with money and the lessons you learned. The other person will understand your perspective better by sharing stories. 
  • Looks for areas where both of you can agree. 

The more you know about yourself and your partner, the easier it can be for both of you to reach on an agreement that is justifiable and are financially wise for both of you.

Advantage Tax Services, Inc.
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