More Money Disagreements
5. You Keep Your Bank Accounts Separate -- But Maybe Not Equal
Why you fight: Maybe one person takes on more of the fixed expenses, like the mortgage, car payments, and insurance, while the other pays for the variable expenses, such as clothing, food, transportation and household items. Variable expenses can't be predicted, so one partner can often wind up in the hole.
How to stop: Having separate accounts doesn't have to be a source of conflict. A good rule of thumb is to divvy up the monthly expenses based on the percentage of income each person contributes to the household. For example, if one partner has an annual salary of $50,000 and the other makes $25,000, the partner who earns $50,000 can contribute twice what his or her spouse does.
The bottom line: It's a good idea to sit down once a month and talk about what's being spent and on what, so each person is aware of the entire financial picture.
6. One of You Is a "Secret Spender"
Why you fight: This is sometimes known as financial infidelity? It may be that one of you isn't used to being accountable for your spending habits, or that you fear the reaction of your partner. But when your secret shopping sprees or piles of debt are discovered, your partner will feel betrayed, and you will be on the hot seat.
How to stop: If you're already deep into your relationship when this pattern of behavior is revealed, there are several ways to handle it. Create a separate bank account for the spender and give him or her a fixed amount of spending money each month, or, if the situation is dire, enlist the help of a counselor to find out why the shopper feels the need to keep secrets.
The bottom line: The easiest way to avoid this fight is to have an open discussion about your spending habits before you ever merge your finances. If you're already in the relationship, focus the conversation on the importance of trust.
7. The Designated Money Manager Doesn't Pay Bills on Time
Why you fight: Obviously, the person who is failing to meet the financial obligations of the household is putting the family in financial danger (poor credit ratings, expensive late fees, or even foreclosure on a home). On the other hand, that person may feel overwhelmed and resentful at having to bear the financial responsibility.
How to stop: Set a date each month to sit down and sort through all the bills together. Take this time to discuss the overall state of your finances and solve issues as they come up. This way, one person won't feel like he or she is shouldering all of the burden.
The bottom line: Look for practical ways to lessen the burden on the money manager, like signing up for automatic online bill payments. Or shift the responsibility to the other partner for a few months to see if that works better. The key is not to place blame, but to try to find a solution together.
8. One of You Borrows Money From Family -- Without the Other Knowing
Why you fight: Borrowing money from a family member is always fraught with complications, and when in-laws are involved, the stakes are doubled. Those proverbial apron strings become reinforced with steel once you accept a loan. And, sooner or later, your partner is going to notice that you're making a monthly payment to Mom.
How to stop: This argument comes down to trust. You want to discuss not just the fact that money was lent, but that the decision was made in isolation. Your partner should always be your first stop when it comes to solving financial problems.
The bottom line: If you're strapped and your parents can or want to lend you some cash, talk to your partner before taking that check to the bank. If he or she objects, talk about what alternative options might be feasible.
Originally published on LearnVest.com; republished with permission.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.