You hear it all the time: The number one reason people get divorced is over money. In fact, a recent study showed how couples who disagreed over money were 30-40 percent more likely to get divorced. While other factors contribute to marital splits, disagreements over financial matters is easily the biggest. If you and your SO are having problems over your finances, here are four habits you’ll want to avoid.
1. Spending Extra Money on You and You Alone
When some people have a windfall—a bonus at work or an inheritance fund, for example—they run right out and buy something both expensive and, for all intents and purposes, completely worthless. Take a new TV for example. Spontaneous purchases like this can make a partner or spouse feel neglected and jealous, not to mention the fact that every big purchase should be carefully considered ahead of time.
2. Charging Too Much, Too Often
Using credit cards too often and accumulating a lot of debt can also tank a relationship. A debt consolidation specialist from Creditguard.org, for example, would advise those in credit card debt to stop charging everything and rely on mostly cash-only spending for your purchases. With cash, you have a finite amount of money, plus it’s easier to keep track of.
3. Frivolous Spending
No one likes dealing with someone who can’t control their spending habits—especially if you share the same account. Work to curb your frivolous spending habits by creating a budget at the beginning of each month. With a set budget, you’ll know how much is coming in, and how much is going out, making it easier for you and yours to prioritize your expenses.
4. Taking Sole Control of the Money
A couple needs to share control of their money if they both contribute to the household’s income and consider it to be the family’s money. If one person takes control and will not allow their partner to have a say in how it is spent, the relationship could fall apart. While it’s natural for someone to take charge when it comes to keeping tabs on your bank statements, it’s important for both individuals to be actively involved in setting—and maintaining—a set budget.
All couples need to sit down and talk about their use of money and how they want to manage their finances. While studies have shown that those married after the recession do this more than those married before, it should still be a point of focus for anyone.
*This article was co-authored by Maria Rivera, who has spent the last 13 years helping people overcome their financial hardships. She currently manages CreditGuard of America’s credit counselors and helps prepare individuals who are seeking their credit counseling certification. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Maria is always on the lookout for great new recipes and beauty tips. She’s also a self-admitted pop culture junkie. You can follow the latest from Maria over on Google+.