24 Signs That You Could be in Financial Trouble #12: Fighting About Money With Your Spouse or Significant Other

In this series I am covering the 24 tell-tale signs that you could be in financial trouble. Over the next few weeks I will be presenting these signs, how to identify them and tips on how to address the issue.

One of the top reasons for fighting in a relationship comes from money. Do you find yourself fighting with your significant other when it comes to money?

Examine Your Relationship

Are you fighting about how money is spent or how money is saved? It isn’t very common for two individuals to have identical backgrounds and attitudes about money. Because of these difference it can be easy to disagree about how money is being spent or saved. Take a look at your specific situation and determine where your arguments stem.

If you find your fighting comes from spending habits it is very important to be able to discuss this openly. For example, you may enjoy golfing every weekend with your friends while your spouse would rather try to apply extra money towards debt or savings. This is can be an ongoing argument. Maybe you want to save up some money to update your kitchen while your spouse would rather just take out a line of credit to pay for the job. Whatever the differences are they don’t go away on their own. It takes open and honest discussion to figure out where each person stands and find a common ground.

Assign Responsibilities

One of the biggest triggers for financial arguments come from a lack of clearly defined responsibilities. Who is responsible for making the mortgage payment, the cable, or the electricity payments? It is common to assume that one person or the other will be making that payment but what happens when it doesn’t get made?

I’ve been there and even a simple thing like a $15 sewer bill can lead to an unnecessary argument. It is important to take the time to define who is responsible for what and stick to this process. When bills simply come in the mail and pile up on the counter it can be easy to fight about who was supposed to pay what and when. By defining responsibilities up front you can reduce the chance of an argument over simple miscommunication.

Try to Reach Common Ground

Ultimately it can be very difficult to change spending or saving habits and even more difficult to discuss these issues with your spouse. No matter how hard it seems it will be worth it to find a common ground. This can not only lead to more healthy finances but can ultimately save a marriage.

24 Signs That You Could be in Financial Trouble
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Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.


Sarah, thanks for the kind words and thanks for the book information. I will add that to my list of things to read. I'm already about 4 books behind schedule but what's one more ;)

I also found your site recently and find it very interesting. Always refreshing to see like-minded people out there.


Jeremy, somehow I discovered your site at precisely the right time. The last couple months have had me wandering around through many different financially related books, and so many have given up no real usable information. I got sucked in to the "Rich Man, Poor Man" vortex for a bit until I realized I was more READING an infomercial than anything else. I've read others that have been really good at the writer patting him/herself on the back, but don't do much else, let alone give concrete, usable information.

So far, the only truly useful book I've found relating to this is "All Your Worth-The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan" by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. It gives actual steps of what to do, what ratios of money should be spent where, and how to make it in this increasingly difficult world. I make mention of this book because much of what you say reflect the same ideologies, and it's great to know that other people are 'getting it' even if they're not reading some book. Thank you for all the great information you provide. Sarah