Money & Career

How to work out financial differences in a relationship

How to work out financial differences in a relationship

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Money & Career

How to work out financial differences in a relationship

It's still a question as to whether money can buy happiness, but one thing's for certain: it can get in the way of a happy marriage.

Ask any couple if they've ever fought about money and it's likely all will say yes. Many once-happy unions break up over finances.

But if you follow these five tips, you should be able to deal with your financial differences and keep your partnership in tact.

How to deal with financial differences

1. Talk to your partner about your finances
We all know that communication is a building block of any successful marriage, but it's especially important to communicate about the big issues like finances. Money starts causing problems when people aren't honest with each other.

Some experts say hiding purchases or sneaking around to spend money is as bad as cheating. If both spouses are open about their buying, then no one will feel as if the other is spending behind their back.

If spouses communicate regularly about all the financial decisions related to earnings, saving, spending, paying down debt and planning for the future, chances are you'll both feel more confident about your financial situation.

2. Budget together
Every household needs a budget, but it doesn't work if only one person follows the plan. Sit down, count up the bills and look at your entire financial landscape together. It's important for both people in a relationship to understand how much money is coming into the household, how much needs to go out to pay bills and what's left to spend. If things are tight, decide together where to cut back as a family. If you're both involved in the process of creating the budget, it stands a better chance of being adhered to.

Page 1 of 2 -- Does your partner spend too much? Find out how you can help break those bad spending habits on page 2.
3. Don't be judgmental
It doesn't do anyone any good if you're constantly critical of your spouse's spending. Yes, maybe one person has a habit of buying a pricey gadget every two months or the other likes to load up on trashy magazines at the grocery store. Work together to break those habits or find ways to be smarter about your spending.

Maybe those pricey gadgets can be found for a fraction of the cost on eBay or Craigslist. A magazine subscription is much, much cheaper than buying each issue on the newsstand.

Work together to find solutions that allow you both to feel like you're still able to have some of the things you would like.

4. Open a joint account
It may help if all or most of the money coming into the house is shared. That way, it's easier for both people to keep track of what's coming in and what's going out. And, while this isn't about keeping tabs on the other person, watching each other's spending habits could help a couple stay on track.

5. Keep some money for yourself
It's only natural: Some people want a little independence when it comes to their cash. It's OK to put some spending money in a separate bank account, but only if the other person knows and after all the joint expenses -- like bills, investments, education savings -- are covered.

If each of you have a little money set aside for yourselves to spend as you see fit, you'll both likely be much happier.

Out of all these suggestions, the key is really following the first one. But keep your partner in the dark and the problems will start.

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Money & Career

How to work out financial differences in a relationship