PUBLISHED: 13:51 EST, 6 June 2012 | UPDATED: 13:51 EST, 6 June 2012
No matter how in love a couple are, when it comes to managing money together, relations can all too easily become hostile.
American couples who wait longer to walk down the aisle are inevitably bringing more debt to the table which is why experts say preparing your finances may be more worthwhile than planning the wedding itself.
According to statistics married couples who quarrel about bank balances and debt are more likely to wind up in the divorce courts.
A recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Harris Interactive found that money causes more arguments among men and women than other typical domestic disputes.
A full 27per cent of respondents said their spats started over money, more than problems with kids (16per cent) or chores (13per cent).
A 2009 study by researchers at Utah State University revealed that couples who locked horns over finances at least once a week are 30per cent more likely to get divorced.
Chris Kimball, a certified financial planner in Lakewood, Washington, told Reuters: ‘I probably spend 15per cent of my time with couples actually talking about money, and the other 85per cent talking about personal issues.’
‘It all ties into money. It’s a very powerful thing that can do great things in people’s lives, or can really mess them up.’
Shockingly, nearly one-half of all people have lied to their significant other about money, according to an April poll by Self Magazine and Today.com.
And a survey conducted this spring by CreditCards.com revealed that six million Americans have hidden financial accounts from their spouses or live-in partners.
The deception isn’t usually malicious. Often it’s prompted by guilt and embarrassment about spending. Compounding the problem is that financial behavior is very deeply set, and can’t be altered easily.
So where do couples go wrong, when it comes to money – and how can they make it right?
Only 43per cent of couples talked about money before marriage, according to a May 2010 survey conducted for American Express.
But lack of disclosure about your financial issues – maybe you’re struggling with $100,000 in student debt, or maybe you filed for bankruptcy at some point – isn’t really any different from lying. Be up front about your financial situation, have the “money talk” long before the big day, and tackle any challenges as a couple.
‘My significant other didn’t tell me about the money problems we were having, and then one day we had no credit left and had lost pretty much everything,’ says Holli Rovenger, an author and speaker in Greenville, South Carolina. ‘If we’d worked together, maybe our finances wouldn’t have spiraled out of control.’
Minor money differences can be overcome as long as you have the basics covered: You have your daily needs met, you’re bringing in more than you’re paying out, and you’re able to build a nest egg for the future. But once overspending and debt enter the picture, all bets are off.
‘I was always a black-belt shopper, and hated to miss a sale,’ says Jenny Triplett, an entrepreneur in Powder Springs, Georgia, who’s been married to husband Rufus Triplett for 22 years. ‘I’d have bags full of new clothes in the closet, and only bring them out one piece at a time. But eventually we came to a compromise, and I got my spending under control.’
That’s exactly the right template for resolving money disputes, planners advise. Even with differing money styles, if both partners take strides toward the middle and agree on broad outlines of a budget, it could prevent countless disputes
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