Let’s kick off the summer with an uplifting quiz question: What area of disagreement between spouses is the best predictor of divorce? Sex, right? Nope. Or perhaps in-laws? Sorry, no. The answer is disagreements over finances. Money implicates our deepest values, hopes, and fears. It serves as a proxy for status and success, and it often drives our sense of self-worth. It’s no surprise that disagreements over money have profound implications for our relationships. For couples, the cornerstone of financial health is not how much you make, how much you spend, or how much you’ve saved — it’s how you communicate about and relate to money as a team. And in this article we’ll be walking through the essentials of healthy communication about money.
As your parents get older, they’ll inevitably begin to face a variety of issues that come with the golden years: planning for retirement, estate planning, living arrangements, long-term care, when to give up driving, and others. Often it falls to one or more adult children to step in and help. Below are the steps to take to broach these topics with your parents as they begin to face these issues.
Nearly 30% of married women in the U.S. now earn more than their husbands. This reversal of the traditional norm of male breadwinners can lead to conflict, depression, and downright awkwardness, as both The New York Times and The Huffington Post examined this month in worthwhile articles. But the reality is any substantial income disparity within couples — regardless of gender — invites friction. Here’s how couples with an income disparity can develop a more unified front for their finances:
Money touches all aspects of our lives. It has the power to bring us great joy as well as ruin. The topic of money implicates the full spectrum of emotion, so it’s no wonder money causes more marital conflict than perhaps anything else. Learning to wisely manage money with a partner is something not taught to most of us, let alone modeled for us in a healthy way.
Quick: what’s the number one thing you’ll spend money on, no questions asked? When discussing spending habits with clients, I often hear “Oh, that’s my thing.” That’s code for: “That’s an untouchable expense. Don’t ask me to change.” Be wary of building a sacred fence around a particular area of spending, which can lead to debt or conflict with one’s partner over expenses.
As one’s parents get older, they’ll inevitably begin to face a variety of end-of-life issues: estate planning, living arrangements, whether skilled nursing is appropriate, when to give up driving, and others. Click here for some proactive steps to take to assist one’s parents as they age and begin to face these issues.