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Couples argue a lot about money

Monday, February 04 09:36:21

Couples definitely fight about money - lying about it, the control of it, the lack of it or the mismanagement of it. But just like money isn't really the root of all evil, it's not the root cause of many divorces, either.

The fights couples have about money are frequently the manifestation of some other deeply entrenched stuff that comes out when there are financial issues. Let's say you grew up poor and hated not having what other kids had. You now buy whatever your heart desires because you don't want to do without again.

You marry a miser who grew up watching his parents spend money unwisely. He hated seeing his parents argue because there was never enough money. You might have even been attracted to his miserly ways because of his ability to manage his money. But such financial differences, which are often ignored or dismissed during a courtship, can cause major problems in a marriage.

You end up fighting because you spend too much and he doesn't want to spend much at all. You are contemplating a divorce and the reason you give: financial irreconcilable differences.

Is money the root cause? Or are your fights about money the manifestation of issues you haven't resolved from your childhood traumas?

And it doesn't help that many couples don't have good communication skills.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants asked people to name which personal problem they would feel most comfortable discussing. Only 14 percent of respondents said money.

"The subject of money is still highly taboo and one that people will go to great lengths to avoid," says Deborah L. Price, a money coach. "Yet couples who are in a committed relationship or married cannot have a healthy, truly intimate relationship unless they are willing to be financially open and fully transparent about their financial wants, needs and expectations."

In other words, if you want financial intimacy, you've got to talk. You've got to be willing to be vulnerable, Price says.