According to a new study, the top reason for divorce is money. Interestingly, the amount of money each couple makes doesn’t make a difference — fights about money are still bound to happen. Whether it’s different spending and saving habits, different management styles or different goals, disagreements are often inevitable. Let’s look at the top financial issues families are facing.
A Gallup poll states that not having enough money to make ends meet is the biggest financial issue families are facing. Many Americans today live beyond their means and carry a large amount of stress as a result. While there’s no quick or easy solution, you have to start somewhere. Simplify your way of living and learn to live off less. Make a budget and stick to it. Start paying off debt (the less debt you have, the lower your monthly bills, so you have more money at your disposal).
Losing a job doesn’t just affect the person who lost it, it affects the entire family. The working spouse may have to pick up extra hours or a second job. It’s extremely stressful for the adults and quite often very scary for the children in the household. When parents are stressed, tense or anxious, the children no longer feel secure. It’s important to try to keep a positive outlook (especially in front of the kids) and remain attentive and loving toward the children. If they’re old enough, be honest and explain to them what is going on — and reassure them that you’re in this together, as a family.
Though this can be good because it helps balance each other out, differences are sure to arise when you’re married to someone who prefers to spend money while you prefer to save it (or vice versa). The spender may feel inclined to hide purchases to prevent a fight, and the saver may set strict rules and be controlling with the money. In these types of situations, communication is key. Set realistic expectations and meet in the middle. Make a budget you can both agree on.
Health care is expensive, but it’s a must. With the costs increasing, the amount of disposable income is decreasing. So what can be done? If you and the other members of your family are in good health, consider a high-deductible plan. Your monthly premium will be significantly less than if you have a low-deductible plan, but if an accident were to happen, you’ll need to be able to cover the cost of that deductible.
Swimming in debt is similar to not making enough money. Perhaps you would make enough money to support your family if you had little to no debt. But where do you start? Pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first. Once that’s paid off, put that monthly payment toward the next credit card and so on until they all have a zero balance. Next, work at paying down any car payments or student loans. Slowly but surely you can be living debt-free and making enough money to support your family (without a pay increase or job promotion).
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