Tips for When Couples Disagree About Money

Tips for When Couples Disagree About Money

Butting heads on money issues is one conflict many married couples face. Here are some tips to make the conversation go smoothly.

Some couples would rather completely avoid the topic of money than risk an argument. Others choose to have tough money conversations which often end in large disagreements. In fact, it has been estimated that money issues are the driving force in a staggering 90 percent of divorces.

Following are some practical tips for approaching your spouse or life partner about this emotionally charged issue:

Recognize Your Money Personality 

Do you track every expense or let statements pile up unopened for weeks at a time? When it comes to investing, how adverse are you to taking risks? How different is your money personality from your partner? It is important to note that typically, women are more conservative investors than men, with an average balance in a 401(k) at $14,000 less than a man’s, according to the National Center for Women and Retirement Research.

Be Honest with Yourself 

Before you can be honest about money with your partner, you must be clear about how you feel.  If you have more assets than your partner, you may feel resentment if his or her spending habits are not as disciplined as yours. Or if you have always been independent, it may be hard for you to be “taken care of” financially.

Find a Neutral Time 

A good time to talk about your money personality, negotiate your finances, or create a plan with a spouse may not be right after a spouse has charged up a storm on a credit card. Instead, find a time to have a relaxed conversation about money and your finances when you are not in a financial crisis or upset about a particular money-related issue.

Share your Past and Future Expectations

To gain further insight into your partner’s approach and views on money, volunteer your own feelings about money and it may encourage your partner to do the same. Try to talk about how your parents deal with money and how you have dealt with sharing money in past relationships. Also, share your specific fears and your hopes about your financial future.

Be Patient 

Nobody’s born knowing how to handle money and some take longer to learn than others. He or she may need to ask the same question several times before comprehending the answer. Fear, intimidation, and lack of confidence can interfere with a partner’s ability to understand. Consider attending a financial seminar or investment club meeting together to open up conversations about money and encourage learning in partnership.

Tips for When Couples Disagree About Money

Fund the Big Picture 

While couples can agree on long-term goals, they can also get lost in the day-to-day struggle and end up losing their focus. First, figure out the big picture – for example, when and how you wish to retire and how much you’d like to contribute to children’s education. Then set up automatic contributions to retirement plans and other funds to support these goals as well as your fixed monthly expenses. It is amazing how much stress is relieved when your major expenses are automated and you are committed to funding your future.

Set Up Some Ground Rules 

For example, begin with an open view of your starting point by sharing your financial history and putting all debts and assets out in the open for discussion. Review your credit histories at or Track spending together by keeping an accurate budget for at least a few months. Also, designate a bill payer as one of you is likely to be better at day-to-day management of the household expenses, but be sure to keep the other person informed and involved. Be sure to keep at least one credit card separate to maintain a separate credit history. If you divorce or your spouse dies, it will be difficult or impossible to get a mortgage, loan, or credit card without it.  Furthermore, each of you should have some agreed-upon amount of “no questions asked” money to spend as you like.

Plan for the Worst 

Spouses who fail to at least learn the details of their families’ financial situation can be vulnerable to fraud, mismanagement, and costly confusion in the event of death or divorce. There are several organizers on the market that if properly used can help your spouse or other family members find important documents and keep track of financial information.

Seek Help 

Consider working together with a qualified financial advisor who can help both of you define your goals and lay out a strategy to help meet them. The Atlanta Wealth Management Firm of Benedetti, Gucer & Associates can help you put together a comprehensive financial plan for your family. Simply knowing whether or not you are on track for your most important financial goals (like Retirement or College Funding), can significantly reduce the financial stress that couples deal with on a daily basis.

Tips for When Couples Disagree About Money


Mark the calendar and plan a date to sit down with your spouse or significant other and discuss your financial future.


The views expressed represent the opinions of Benedetti, Gucer & Associates and are subject to change. These views are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendation, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The information provided is of a general nature and should not be construed as investment advice or to provide any investment, tax, financial or legal advice or service to any person.

Additional information, including management fees and expenses, is provided on Benedetti, Gucer & Associates’ Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

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  1. When I was growing up–if my parents argued it was usually about money. I think its more common than I once thought. This post was wonderful! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. This is very helpful to couples. Money issues are serious!

  3. I have no doubt that money leads to problems in relationships.

  4. Money is the source of all evil, its definitely so true especially when it comes to family. Conflicts are starting to rise once its all about dishonesty or misunderstanding about money issues so tips like these are very helpful especially for couples.

  5. Money is trouble and no money is trouble. I guess we need to communicate with each other and work together to solve the problem. Getting help from a professional is actually a really good idea.

  6. Be patient – I couldn’t agree with this more, not just for when thinking about money but it all aspects of a couple relationship I think! Not always easy though! Some great tips here.

  7. These are some good tips. These could be used to avoid disagreements in couples. Thank you for sharing these tips.

  8. I knew it was top 3 causes of divorce: sex, kids and money… but 90%?? Wow! Thats high! And yeah, understanding each others financial language is super important as is understanding their fears over it too!

  9. This post has some great tips on how to have unity with your partner on the subject of finances. It’s so important to understand your own “money personality” & communicate well about your expectations & then come to a nice balance. Team work truly makes the dream work. 🙂

  10. Yeah money can be the root of some fight. Thanks for sharing, I love the “Share your Past and Future Expectations” part. 🙂

  11. Money can become a big factor between duo. Nice article. Will wait for more 🙂

  12. it is so important to be on the semi-same page since day one. I feel like in all relationship money can become a problem. these are all great tips

  13. I think money can definitely create many fights between couples so it’s definitely important to understand each other and be on the same page. These for really great tips!
    xo, Sondra

  14. great tips as finance is often one of the biggest culprits in marriage problems

  15. I’m glad that I was able to read this as me and my boyfriend are really into saving for our future. These tips will help us handle money better. Thanks!

  16. Money does cause a lot of problem when it comes to marriages, great tips to tackle them.

  17. I really like the ideas in this post. Not many people talk about this out loud, let alone writing a post about it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  18. The number one reason people divorce is because of money. It is hard to stay on the same page. These are good tips for trying to work together to come to some sort of agreement.

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