How to Resolve Money Issues

Money issues in a marriage are complex. It might sound odd, but the root cause of the problems is often not money. Money is just how the problems appear. Real money issues are easy to solve. It’s simple math. If you balance the equation, all is good. If it doesn’t balance, it’s usually easy to see where the problem is. It’s when we add in the dynamics of relationships that things get messy. Problems with power, guilt, and resentment can manifest in many different ways, especially around money.

How to Resolve Money Issues

The bad news is that many experts and financial gurus usually just look at the money side.

The good news is that you have found and are reading a post from a marriage coach that takes a holistic view of the problem. Such a holistic view can not only resolve your current problems, but can also provide a strategy for long-term financial and marriage success.

You can have the marriage you dream about. You do not have to let money issues continue to cause strife between you and your partner. I’m sure you have heard that money issues are a top reason for divorce. The steps most people take to resolve money issues largely focus on just the math and do not work. Rest assured, you now have the instructions on how to really resolve money issues in a way that works on both the math and the relationship with your partner.

Resolve Money Issues

Sources of Money Issues

Research studies find that 81% of people do not feel confident in how they handle money. A December 2015 survey found that approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and 21% don’t have a savings account at all. There is a lot of financial uncertainty and a general lack of financial literacy. This uncertainty and financial illiteracy is a problem waiting to happen.

There are many other situations that can lead to money issues:

  • Guilty fathers – A man working to pay the family bills for children with a stay-at-home wife can feel guilty that the wife is sacrificing a career to raise the family.
  • Resentful wives – A woman staying at home to raise the family may feel resentful towards the husband because she is giving up a career.
  • Conflicts of loyalty – Couples can get into fights over loyalty, especially when it comes to children and parents. Money is often cited as a cause as one partner feels the other partner is spending too much.
  • Miser and spender – This is where one partner is frugal with money and the other partner is a free spender.
  • Pretense of power – Decisions are made all the time in a family regarding money. Resentment and hostility can manifest when one partner exerts power over them in the decision making process.

Often, our understanding and feelings about money originate in how we grew up.

  • What did your parents think about money?
  • How did your parents use money?
  • What did they say about people with/without money?
“Money problems cannot be resolved by just looking at the money side of things. Money issues can ONLY be resolved by addressing BOTH the financial side of the household and the marriage relationship.” – Mark Jala

Resolving Money Issues

We have to look at the finances of the household and the marriage relationship. To achieve life-long success, you have to be financially literate. I recommend some resources. For the beginner, and also an excellent book for children to learn about money management, I recommend a book called The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. This is the de facto standard on basic money skills. For those who know the basics, I highly recommend The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

For the relationship side, I recommend these 3 posts from my blog:

These resources will fill in the missing knowledge. However, to resolve money issues in your marriage, you need more than just a few articles or books. You need time-tested and proven strategies. In my coaching, I have several strategies for each the money side and the relationship side. I go into much more detail of these strategies in an e-book I offer called How to Resolve Money Issues in Your Marriage. In that e-book, I offer not just the strategies, but also step-by-step 30, 60, and 90-day plans on how to resolve your money issues and how to put yourself on a path of life-long financial and marital success. The e-book only costs $17, and you can start putting it into action in the next few minutes.

Here are 2 of the 8 strategies I offer from the e-book.

1 – Understand Where You Are Right Now Financially

This strategy is a beginning point. It doesn’t do anything to help your finances, but it does help you understand where you are right now, financially, and it sets the stage for the next strategies. It involves starting a budget. Yes, it’s the “B” word. Budget. This is the first and most fundamental action you can take. Every other strategy relies on the results of the work you do right now.

Imagine taking a vacation. Where do you want to go next year? Now, plan that vacation without knowing where you are going to start from. Hmm? Not so easy to figure how you’ll get there, right? Will you drive, leaving from home? Will you drop a pet off at the kennel first and leave from there? Will you go to the airport and fly from there? If so, which airport? Will you take the train? Every travel site on the internet, when working up the price of your trip must know the starting point and the destination. Your finances work the same way!

Many people are afraid to do a budget because of the fear that the budget will constrain them in their spending. The first part of the budget process has nothing to do with that. All we are looking to achieve at this point is to know how much money is coming in, how much money is going out, and where is it all going. Once we have that information there is a little math we have to do. A couple quick figures will tell us exactly how we are doing now, and how far we have to go to be financially stable.

Action Item
  1. 1
    Create an account on Every Dollar. This is Dave Ramsey’s free service to help create a budget. It’s fantastic and walks you through the baby steps he promotes. Go here now:
  2. 2
    Complete the budget and calculate the percentage of your monthly expenses to your income. Make a note of this figure.

2 – Insist on Handling Money Issues Together

Money is inherently associated with power. When we offer our partner the task of managing the checkbooks, we are giving away a most important power. Money issues need to be handled and decided upon together.

Cloe Madanes, author of the book The Secret Meaning of Money, writes about the influence of money at various stages of a marriage. One of her key recommendations is for couples to have regular, perhaps weekly, meetings to talk about the finances. When both spouses resist the temptation to delegate or abdicate authority of the finances, they each have a say and responsibility in the handling of family finances. When responsibility is balanced, neither partner can blame or complain about how money is handled.

While we all have skills sets that may or may not be suitable for dealing with money, both partners need to have a say and sharing of responsibilities when it comes to household finances. I hear quite often one spouse indicating they are not good at money, and they have their partner deal with it. These same people are often the ones also complaining that their partner isn’t doing it right or not giving them a say. They cannot have it both ways.

The power grab must be avoided at all costs. Even if one partner hates math or balancing checkbooks, that partner must learn and take on the responsibilities. Not doing so simply opens the door for problems.

Action Item
  1. 1
    Setup a weekly time when the two of you agree to talk about household finances and go over the checkbooks.
  2. 2
    Devise a system of handling money that is suitable for both partners. Will you use online banking, traditional checkbooks, or a 3rd party money management system like Quicken?
  3. 3
    Understand your financial skill sets and improve your financial literacy. Depending on your level of financial literacy, acquire and read one of the books mentioned under Money Resources.

These are just 2 of the 8 strategies found in my e-book called How to Resolve Money Issues in Your Marriage. If you are struggling in your marriage and it appears to be about money, you need this e-book.

My 8 strategies are designed to work together, one after the other, to build a lifetime of financial stability, love, respect, and emotional connection. The e-book offers 30, 60, and 90-day plans to assess where you are now, determine exactly where you want to be and when, and step-by-step instructions to make the process easy and fast.

Imagine, in just 30 days, you can start to see improvements in your marriage. In 90 days, both your finances and your marriage can be on the path to financial stability and the awesome marriage you dream about. The e-book costs just $19.

Resolve Money Issues
  • 12 common causes of money problems
  • 4 money and 4 relationship strategies
  • 30, 60, and 90 day plans
  • 5 money myths debunked

About the author

Mark Jala is a certified marriage coach, researcher, and consumer advocate. Certified in Strategic Interventions, Mark bases all of his services and advice on verifiable research. With nearly 40 years of problem solving experience, Mark has developed a holistic approach to marriage coaching which provides a context and execution plan not seen in ordinary marriage services.

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