Use this checklist to see
He said. She said.
He’s wrong. I’m right.
Finger pointing can quickly turn into finger poking when money is involved.
Lots of spouses fight about money. In fact, divorced couples say “money” ruined their relationships more than any other factor.
But you can identify destructive patterns before they make you crazy or mean. A good place to start is to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I mean when it comes to money?”
Many of us really don’t want to know if we are “Money Mean” or not. And the truth hurts, so we applaud you for reading this article. No one sets out to be mean, but over time, and as frustration grows, many of us become “Money Mean”. It destroys our relationships and our families. But, spotting these destructive behaviors helps you reverse these nasty habits, lower the tension in your home, and get your relationships moving back in the right direction.
- You yell at your spouse when they spend money. Usually “no questions asked” is a good thing, but a “Money Mean” spouse starts yelling about any purchase without hearing the reasoning behind the expense.
- You control the finances with an iron fist. Dictators get a bad rap in the history books. And there is a really good reason why!! A marriage is about give and take, sharing of ideas, and fair and equal treatment. Ruling every penny with an iron fist is “Money Mean”.
- You put your financial agenda ahead of your spouse. Most wedding vows pledge to love one another “for richer or poorer”. Those vows remind the couple that their relationship is more important their financial situation. If saving every cent, or spending whatever you want whenever you want is the most important thing, you’ve put your financial agenda ahead of your concern for your spouse.
- You spend when you said you would not. What do we tell our kids? “Don’t lie. The minute you lie, I can’t trust anything else that comes out of your mouth.” When you lie about your spending you’re telling your spouse, I don’t trust you with the truth. Why do you feel the need to lie?
- You have a secret spending stash or credit card. Lies about money in a relationship is the root of “financial infidelity”. Sound serious? It is. Just like the lies of an affair can destroy a marriage, so can lies about money. And just like an affair, the sooner you come clean the better. Rebuild the trust and honesty in your relationship. Your relationship, and possibly your finances, could become stronger than ever. Enlist a neutral party to help out if you don’t know how to get started on your own.
- You hoard money behind your significant other’s back. Don’t laugh. It happens. One spouse doesn’t fully trust the other so they start making their own fallback, secret stash of cash. Again, trust is at the heart of this issue. Discuss your fear about not having enough with your spouse and make a plan together.
- You slam your spouse’s spending habits or saving habits to your friends behind you significant other’s back. No one’s perfect. But do you really need to pick on the negatives in your spouse and share them with others? How would you feel if he or she were doing the same?
- You refuse to actually have a financial plan. As the old joke goes, “Denial is more than a long river in Africa. It’s the root of many marital problems.” If you deny your spouse’s need for a financial plan, that won’t stop the bills from rolling in and from colleges raising tuition every year. Don’t make your spouse beg to do something mature, and helpful for your family. Create a financial plan – together.
- You play off your kids and make your spouse look cheap or stupid. Don’t put your kids in the middle of your money disagreements. Share your fears and frustrations with your spouse behind closed doors. You make think you look like the winner here, but kids are smart. They may actually be the ones playing you!
- You shame and belittle you spouse for not seeing money the same way you do! We’ve written an entire book on this fascinating topic, but let’s just say: we all look at money differently. And to make matters worse, about 70% of the time we marry our money opposite. Don’t expect them to act like you. Learn how they approach money so you can appreciate their needs, and anticipate issues before they become huge problems.
- You try to change the way your spouse thinks about money. Good luck with that! You are not going to change the way your spouse thinks about money. If you traveled back in time you’d see your spouse in the candy store as a child thinking the exact same way they do now about money. It’s hardwired right in, just like their height or eye color. So avoid the headache of beating your head against a wall and start to discover and appreciate their way of thinking.
It’s a long list. Maybe you saw yourself in one or more of the “Money Mean” behaviors. Don’t lose heart. Recognizing the bad habit is a great first step. And you’re in this for the long haul so it is worth the time to make some positive changes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for twenty years or twenty months; invest in the health of your marriage for you, for your spouse, and for your family.
Often the frustration that leads to us being “Money Mean” is our misunderstanding of our 2 Money Personalities or the Money Personalities of the people in our relationships. These differences often lead to a huge amount of tension and fighting in our relationships.
To understand your 2 Money Personalities (your Primary and Secondary) and the 2 Money Personalities of everyone in your family go to TheMoneyCouple.com and take our scientific Money Personality Assessment today!
Also for more in-depth suggestions and encouragement, pick up a copy of our recent book, The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking The Same Love And Money. Be sure to comment below too – what do you think it looks like to be “Money Mean”?