Newlywed and avoiding financial argument

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

If only every couple would ask the question, 'how are we going to prevent financial arguments?' when entering a new level of commitment in their relationship. You'll be dealt many challenges in your time together and you don't want to get bogged down with money issues. So here's how to avoid to common pit falls of fighting over finance... before they begin.

couple in agreement after compromise

Why you should talk finances with your fiance

Couples in love tend to zero in on the fact that their relationship feels like it's made in heaven but when you're ready to take it the next step you have to recognize that you are on earth. So, we encourage you to continue inhabiting cloud nine but also to take note that you're joining the values and styles of two different people.

Money differences cause one of the most difficult challenges to any relationship. Start your new relationship by learning to talk about money in a way that values your individual needs and also honors what is important to your spouse. Practicing the skill of communication is a lifelong commitment and getting started right away will be worth it!

Discuss your saving and spending habits -- most people assume that their partner wants the same thing that they want, but many times that's not the case. Don't worry, it's OK. Communication is the key to incorporating different values and priorities into your financial plans when two become one. 

Discuss the following with your spouse

During the next year, what do we want to accomplish with our money? How can we establish a plan for goals like buying a home and having children? How can we also have money to budget for things such as weekend trips, summer vacations and attending concerts?

Since life together means planning ours, yours and mine, some people plan by first considering individual needs and then considering joint needs. Other people start with joint needs and then consider their personal needs. Either way, remember not to try changing the other person. Here are tips for approaching financial conversations and what you should discuss.

  • Develop communication skills with a focus on both individual needs and joint plans.
  • Make sure that you and your spouse have money that is yours alone to spend. Each of you should have some money you can spend without consulting each other.
  • Establish ground rules of how to make decisions. Arguments and hard feelings follow if one person spends joint money without consulting the other.
  • How much money do we want to set aside for our own individual spending? What could we do together this weekend? What would you like to do alone?

delegate the 'secretary'

Decide which of you will be the systems keeper. Which of you is better at taking care of bill paying, record keeping and other tasks related to money management? If both of you are proficient at the tasks, take turns. If neither of you would do a good job, find help to establish a good system and then trade off doing it. There is no reason to pay late fees and high interest charges that result in a black mark on your credit. The only pay out there is extra stress on your marriage.


More on relationship communication

How to stop fighting over finances 

Never say this to your guy

Small gestures that can improve your marriage