5 Common Arguments About Money in Relationships (and What to Do)
4th April 2023
Arguments about money in relationships are completely natural, and usually quite common, but that doesn't make them any easier to deal with.
Everyone has their own attitudes and relationship with money, which can easily result in disagreements between couples. With the right approach, and being open to talking honestly about money, all money-related arguments in your relationship can be solved.
In this article, we highlight the 5 most common arguments couples have about money and what to do to solve or prevent arguments.
1. The Argument: Different Spending Habits
Differing spending habits are one of the most common causes of money arguments in a relationship. If one partner tends to overspend on eating out or shopping, this can result in financial stress in the relationship, especially if there are no savings to rely on in financial emergencies.
On the flip side, if a partner is an excessive saver, this can also result in frustration if there are never any funds allocated to fun events or romantic gestures.
What to Do
The best way to solve this financial argument and maintain a healthy relationship is to be communicative about your spending habits and come up with ways together to address your differences.
If you are the type that tends to overspend, talk to your partner about how they can assist you to become better at saving and ensure financial stability in your relationship. If you only ever save, decide together on ways that you can invest in your relationship while still reaching your savings goals.
2. The Argument: Joint Account
Arguments about money in a relationship can also stem from having a joint bank account. For many couples, a joint bank account offers an easier way to pay for joint expenses and save towards shared financial goals.
The problem with a shared account is that there is no privacy, which can easily cause distrust or disagreements about spending in the relationship.
What to Do
You can have a joint bank account for shared expenses and saving goals, but keep a portion of your finances separate in personal bank accounts. Personal accounts allow you to have personal money to spend and individual financial security, preventing any future arguments or (in the worst case) potential divorce over your joint account.
3. The Argument: Financial Baggage
Whether your partner is still paying off their student loan debt or you have credit card debt yourself, any personal debt can cause arguments about money in a relationship.
These arguments can stem from disagreements on how you plan to pay off what you owe or whether your personal debt is a joint responsibility.
What to Do
If you are entering into a new relationship with personal debt, you need to be honest about your financial situation from the start. This initial money conversation will ensure that your partner is aware of your financial situation and will prevent any financial disagreements in the future.
If you mutually decide to cover the personal debt, you both need to develop a realistic plan to become debt free based on your joint income.
4. The Argument: Supporting Family Financially
Any family-related financial responsibilities can result in numerous arguments in a relationship. If your partner's family is reliant on them to support them in their retirement or you want to pay for your sister's tuition, this can be an immense financial burden to share that can quickly cause conflict.
What to Do
You need to have an honest conversation about both your family's financial expectations as well as share how you feel about offering financial support to your partner's family, ideally before marriage or prior to creating a shared account in a long-term relationship.
Decide how you will both plan to support your families financially and create a relevant budget to avoid any money issues in your relationship that could cause arguments.
5. The Argument: Lending Money
From married couples to long-term partners to new relationships, lending money can easily cause significant disagreements between partners. While one partner may feel that it is right to lend money to their family relations, kids, or friends, the other partner may view lending as a major source of financial issues.
What to Do:
Firstly, have an open conversation to address the reasons why your partner may feel wary about lending money to determine the underlying financial concerns. If you both decide that in the circumstance you are going to lend money, you need to both agree on the amount and ensure that the amount will not have an impact on your joint finances.
Ensuring that you are on the same page before you loan the money will prevent any future lending arguments.
What About When There's a Money Imbalance?
Money imbalance in relationships is typically when one partner makes more money than the other. While for some relationships this is not a problem, for other couples it can lead to a whole host of problems that can result in money arguments.
A money imbalance in a relationship can result in the partner who earns more feeling like they hold the financial decision-making power, which builds resentment in the other partner.
The partner who earns more may practice financial infidelity to avoid having to spend more of their money, which can be hurtful if ever discovered. Alternatively, the partner who earns less may feel inferior about their inability to equally contribute, resulting in issues in the relationship.
How to Deal with Money Imbalance in Relationships
1) Talk Openly About Your Money Situation
As a couple, you need to talk about money honestly to prevent money imbalance from causing problems in your relationship. When both partners are aware of each other's earnings and personal finance habits early on in the relationship, there is less of a risk of money imbalance becoming a cause for arguments.
2) Create a Realistic Budget
Ensure your relationship is on a firm financial footing by creating a realistic budget together. Creating a budget together will allow you both to communicate about your finances and determine how you will split the bills in a way that is fair to your individual income.
3) Be Mindful
A money imbalance can quickly result in the worst-case scenario of your relationship if you are both not mindful of each other when it comes to money. If you know that your partner will feel guilty about not equally contributing to expenses, highlight that you value their other contributions to your relationship. If your partner is covering more of the bills, be mindful of how you appreciate and support them without beating yourself up about it.
The Bottom Line
Money in relationships can be a common cause for arguments, but with the right approach and being open to talking about money, you can solve or prevent any money arguments in your relationship.
If you both agree that a loan could help your financial situation, consider spreading your big upcoming costs with an Instalment Loan.