5 ways couples can avoid financial mistakes

5 ways couples can avoid financial mistakes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Money fights are considered the number one reason for divorces, according to smartmoney.com

Two people with 2 different visions of how money should be spent can cause plenty of problems.

Financial expert and author Shari Olefson says, "We're coming as adults to our relationship about money with the baggage that we learned as children from our mother and our father. So, when you're talking about a couple, you're multiplying that times two and it can get pretty complicated."

Olefson helped us create the top 5 ways couples can avoid financial mistakes.

#1: Dealing with debt

"Debt is like a disease and really, you're dealing with a patient. You're dealing with something that's going to be life-changing if you don't know exactly how you're going to resolve it," says Olefson.

Smartmoney.com ranked this as the number one reason couples argue.

In most cases, one person has more debt than the other and your significant other's debt can affect things you're trying to buy together, like a house or car.

Olefson says the best approach is to pay down debt together, as a team.

#2: Merging finances

Only 14% of couples do not  have a joint bank account, according to Smartmoney.

Its experts say start by merging a little bit at a time because when a mortgage and children come into the picture a joint account can be much easier to balance.

# 3: Build up an emergency fund

This one is especially important in South Florida, as we're no stranger to rapid changes in the job market and a major disaster, like a hurricane.

You should have 6-9 months of reserves saved up.

#4: Don't keep money secrets

A recent survey by Smartmoney shows 36% of men and 40% of women confess they lied about the price of something they bought.

Olefson suggests a simple solution.

"Rather than keep secrets why not have both spouses simply have a line item on that budget which is their secret spending. It's an agreed amount and they can do whatever they want with it," said Olefson.

#5: Budget together

When one person doesn't think about the other's spending, it can weigh down a relationship.

Be on the same page, use a spread sheet or simply write down what your spending.

Olefson said, "One of the things that you want to make sure is that you don't become one of these spouses that just completely checks out about the finance and has no idea what's really going on."


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