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Fighting Over Finances?

I received this question from our Facebook group and thought it would be good to answer publicly.

“Vicki, my partner and I are constantly fighting about money.  Can you help us, please?”

You are not alone in money struggles with your significant other.  We’ve all had the money fight.  In fact, personal finances are one of the most common arguments among couples.  Maybe one is a spender and one is a saver which doesn’t make things easy, at all.  No matter what your money arguments are about, there are ways to find a common ground, or at least a game plan for some household harmony.

I want you to think of your partnership as a business when it comes to money.  If you look at any successful business,  you will see that they have designated tasks for each role.  There’s a CEO, a CFO, a COO, an operations manager, a human resources manager.  Each role is unique and vital to the success of the company.  The different managers meet and map out what is best for the company.  The CEO isn’t going to be doing the same tasks as the human resources manager.  Why?  Because it would not make sense to have two people do the same job.

A partnership among couples should be no different.  Chances are there are different roles you take on in your relationship.  Cooking, cleaning, maintenance, childcare, and the list goes on.  Maybe you have already determined how to divide up those tasks, but have what about when it comes to bills?  

Money fights tend to happen even more frequently when one partner stays home to raise the child and the other is the breadwinner.  On the worst of days, it seems as if the other partner’s job is much easier.  I’m sure a person who has a stressful office job would love to trade places and stay home with the kids.  Meanwhile, ask any parent who has raised a toddler if it’s easy.  My point is, that we ALL have stressful jobs, and even if the job doesn’t result in a paycheck, it’s no less important. 

What I’m recommending is you sit down with your partner and list out all of the “company” bills as well as chores.  Decide which “department” is going to tackle each task.  

If one spouse does not have an income, it is important to designate some of that money to them.  Their contribution towards the success of the household is vital.  Figure out which expenses are up to this partner and factor that into the budget.

For example, if you are a stay at home parent, you can be in charge of all expenses related to the children, the grocery shopping, gifts for family members, and any household improvements.  Any expense or decision related to these tasks is all you.

Maybe the working spouse takes on the bill paying.  Whatever you do, figure out who pays what bills and how.  I know it sounds simple, but if one partner picks up the mail, it can get lost if there is not a system in place.

The better you are able to define each role, the less unknown, and less arguing.

Do you have a tip to share how you and your partner were able to stop arguing about money?  Come share with me in my Financially Fabulous Facebook community.