5 ways to deal with a spouse who doesn't want to save money
When Your Spouse Doesn't Care About Money
by Todd Morse
Money causes more marital conflict than any other subject. This is especially true when your financial goals, spending styles, and views of money are fundamentally different from your spouse's. In a study conducted by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University, it was shown that couples who argue about money once a week were 30% more likely to get divorced than couples who disagreed about money only occasionally. Clearly, finding financial solutions is worth the effort. But what can one person do when their spouse isn't on board with saving money?
Talk About It
Often, money arguments are about a wider range of subjects than just spending and saving. Take the time to really discuss your concerns, without yelling, and listen to what your spouse has to say. Describe your concerns and explain why saving money is important to you. If other problem areas arise, agree to set them aside and stay focused on each other's spending and savings habits. The fact is, nearly all couples disagree about money to one degree or another. It does not mean that you are doomed to divorce and bankruptcy, it simply means that you are both human. At the same time, if talking about the problem doesn't get results, then you will need to take the next step.
Get Financially Informed
If talking it out doesn't get your spouse on board to save more or to spend more frugally, you will need to arm yourself with accurate information on your family's finances. This means documenting where your family's money is coming from and where it goes, how much, and how often. Identify all debts, expenses, and sources of income. Often, one spouse or the other is not accurately in tune with the family's financial position, leading them to spend more money than the family can afford. On the other hand, sometimes other circumstances or history comes into play. If one spouse was raised in an extremely frugal household, he or she may have an acute aversion to spending. Focusing on the financial facts can help everyone see the situation more realistically. This can help you develop financial goals together and decrease the likelihood of so many arguments about money.
Next, sit down with your spouse and work together to create a family budget. These spending plans help you and your spouse to pay monthly bills and set aside money for occasional expenses, such as car maintenance or taxes, and for emergencies, such as illness or injury. These financial nest eggs should be equal to 3-6 months of your family's normal expenses. Generally speaking, creating a family budget simply means taking the information you have already gathered and adding up all of your income in one column and all of your expenses in another. If you have more expenses than income, you have a problem. If your spouse refuses to participate in the budgeting process, you have an even bigger problem. If a family budget doesn't motivate your spouse to spend more frugally and save for those rainy days, you must begin working to protect yourself financially to avoid bankruptcy. Learn about your finances: how secured debts work, how unsecured debts work.
Opening separate accounts is one way to protect yourself financially and set aside money for your own rainy day. Of course, this arrangement still requires some level of cooperation from your spouse. Decisions must be made regarding who pays for which expenses, are bills split evenly, or by some other method. If you are facing serious conflict with your spouse, it is also important to pay attention to which bills are in your name and pay those first. Being in serious financial conflict with a spouse who overspends can easily lead to divorce and bankruptcy.
Learn About Your Options
If bankruptcy becomes your only option, with or without your spouse, you can still make decisions that are in your best financial interest. Talk with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more about the differences between Chapter 7 bankruptcies and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, as well as your other options. Your initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer doesn't cost you anything and a visit to a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy can provide useful information about your personal financial options.
Am I a good candidate for bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is not something to be entered into lightly. At the same time, ridding yourself of an overwhelming financial burden that you cannot afford brings with it a profound sense of relief. The entire experience can then be chalked up to one of life's important lessons and you can move forward from there.
Reviewed February 2018
Take the Next Step:
- Think about it. Could you be causing your spouse to overspend?
- Find out what baby boomers need to know about financial infidelity.
- Use these tips to get a reluctant spouse to consider credit counseling.
- Funding an emergency fund now can help prevent debt problems and even bankruptcy later. Start saving today with these 11 easy ways to find $1000 for an emergency fund.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Todd Morse is the managing attorney for Morse & Associates, LLC where you can have a confidential conversation to learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and how they can help you resolve your urrent financial difficulties. Your free consultation can provide you with tools and information to make a knowledgeable choice regarding your financial future.
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