PIX Financial Fix: Money talk for couples

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Money can lead to many problems for couples. But it doesn't mean it has to ruin relationships.

Melissa Armo, a financial expert and founder of the Stock Swoosh, gives advice to get couples talking about money.  She will be hosting a free webinar on: "Making a Live in Just 30  Minutes Daily" on Monday, May 9 at 5:30pm.  To register:  http://onlinetradercentral.com/presenter_HB4MEQ.asp

Check our her money managing tips for couples:

#1 Make a monthly budget. A plan of action for both of you to follow. You won't spend more than XYZ outside of your normal housing expenses. (even set up a separate checking account with the monthly budget monies in there-once its gone its gone.)

*For example: Make a list of monthly expense and put a dollar amount next to each to spend. That is the budget. This much $ on dining out, salon expense, food, clothing, movies, golfing, etc. (see attached proposed helpful checklist couples can access via my website). The toughest budgeted items for couples to agree on are the "non-fixed" expenses. Fixed expenses are easy. It is the "non-fixed" expenses that can create an issue in the relationship. In order to avoid that put a dollar number and make it a fixed amount under each category. 11-15 are the one's most couples struggle with spending on.

#2 Discuss money honestly and openly with your partner. Most marriages and partnerships FAIL due to finances. If people would say how they feel the moment they feel it, the relationship in the long run will be better off. Secrets hurt the chances of any relationship.

*For example: You can't agree on how much money to spend for a summer vacation. You both know you want to go on a trip and yet you can't agree. You want to go somewhere relaxing like the beach, and he wants to go fishing in the mountains. One is cheap and one is not cheap. He argues that his vacation idea will save you both money in the long run because the trip is cheaper. You state that it isn't all about the money, it is about enjoying the week off you have together doing things you both like. What do you do? You make a pact! You agree to go on the vacation fishing as long as you can spend the difference that you saved on the joint vacation by going on a romantic bed & breakfast weekend together away sometime in the fall!

#3 Ask for what you want, and state why you deserve it to your partner. PS It doesn't matter who makes more. A partnership is a partnership.

*For example: You want to spend money on something expensive and don't want to go behind his back to do it. However, you don't feel you should have to ask his permission to spend half your own money. In order to avoid an argument down the line-just bring it up. Just state matter of fact you want to buy this dress-What do you think dear? If he says yes, go for it! If he says no, then ask him why? Explain you love the dress and you've been working hard too and you haven't bought anything for yourself recently. If you can make him understand its not the item itself but the positive reward you are giving yourself for working hard he might change his mind. In the end however, half the money is yours and if he still says no then just let him know you are buying it anyways because half the money is yours! Doing it and not telling him is a mistake. Again, avoid secrets at all cost or surprise bills later.

#4 Review your joint credit card bills monthly. Joint cards will affect both of your credit which is vital. Don't be afraid to say something if you see an expense you don't recognize on a credit card bill. If you see a huge purchase one of you made and have no idea what it is for bring it up! If you are a joint card holder you have every right to ask. Did you buy XYZ? What if it is fraud? Bring it up. If your partner bought something expensive and didn't tell you, now is their chance to do so. If they ask why you are inquiring then you just explain you want to make sure it was a valid charge on the account.

#5 Review the budget at the end of each month. Did you both follow it? Did you overspend? under spend? What needs to be revised and why? Remember, its not about assuming blame on one partner. It is about teaching each other through "practice makes perfect" about how to be fiscally responsible. The #1 goal in any relationship is to GROW TOGETHER. And part of that growth is financial growth. If you want to grow together you need to communicate openly about money which is an important aspect of a committed relationship. If you are willing to work hard for each others mutual benefit with JOY & LOVE through open communication you can do it.

Don't let Money ruin a relationship with THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE!   The goal is mutual respect, and above all love. Do you want to be right or happy? It is an easy answer!