Q: My husband and I seem to always argue about the same thing: money. No matter how hard we try, we keep fighting over our finances! How can we overcome this pattern of conflict?
A: A lot of couples fight some; some couples fight a lot. And according to a 2012 AICPA survey in the Wall Street Journal, numerous studies report that couples fight more about finances than any other issue. The survey revealed the following stats:
- On average, couples fight about money at least three times per month. That made it the most volatile topic, ahead of fights about children, chores, work, or friends.
- The most common cause for money arguments (58 percent) focused on differing opinions of needs versus wants.
- Forty-nine percent of couples argue about unexpected expenses, and 32 percent argue about insufficient savings.
- Thirty percent of married adults have engaged in at least one deceitful behavior related to their finances (such as hiding purchases).
Does any of this sound familiar? Consider these common situations:
Scenario 1: After buying a giant new flat-screen television without discussing the purchase first, your spouse is now yelling at you for spending too much on a pair of shoes.
Scenario 2: You and your spouse are at odds over how much to save for retirement. You want to spend money now and enjoy life. Your spouse wants to save as much as possible.
Scenario 3: Your church announced a major campaign to raise money for drilling wells in Uganda. The pastor is asking every member to give beyond what they normally give. Sounds good to you. But it doesn't sound so good to your spouse.1