Money Issues Can Hurt Marriage

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend helps identify the best ways to come together as a couple to get through tough economic times.

Many couples that I work with lack the ability to make honest, effective decisions about money. But making these decisions is vital to maintaining a stable relationship. With the difficult economic times right now, couples need to learn to communicate about money and they need to learn skills to help them solve some of the difficult financial issues that are part of every relationship.

1. Get on the same page

   • 80/20 rule

      • Find where you have agreement first, then talk about       disagreement second
      • 20% of the activities that net 80% of the benefit

   • Talk about long-term goals

      • Retirement, children, etc.
      • Both have a vote
      • Decision making is two-way

   • Money is power

      • Are we both going to work or not?
      • What happens when kids come?

   • How will we make our money decisions?

      • It’s easier to say “no” once we know what we say “yes” to.
      • Different styles and histories
      • Levels of comforts and risk
      • Make sure there is mutual benefit
      • Sacrifice what you want NOW, for what you want eventually

2. Be REAL with each other

   • Nobody is blameless in communication breakdowns

      • Own your own money mistakes
      • Recognize your ineffective habits and own up to them

   • Get REAL about who is the spender and who is the saver and    realize that neither are saints.

      • Find the good in both the players
      • For years my wife was affectionately called the tightwad, let       me get the crow bar
      • Remember both the saver and spender are valuable parts of       the equation.
      • The banker and the cruise director both have valuable parts       to play.

   • Remember money problems equals stress, stress is a cancer    for marriage.

   • Have Joint accounts…they create a higher need to communicate     and have lower divorce rates. Joint accounts create, joint futures     of trust together.

3. Focus on solutions not problems

   • Instead of talking about the money that was spent at Costco,    focus on what you can do to be together on the money issue

   • Arguing about your problems only makes you notice more    problems.
      • Example: Talking about red ford f150’s makes you notice       them more.

   • Be very specific about what you want to accomplish: “I would like    to get these credit cards paid off” or “We’re about to finish paying    off the house and I’d like to think about an upgrade.”
      • Get informed
      • You’re only as strong as your knowledge

4. Get a plan or get help

   • Hold regular couples finance conversations

      • Live within your means.
      • Constantly manage your expectations.
      • Both must benefit equally or it won’t work.

   • Set accountable, achievable goals that you both agree on. For    example:
      • Cut the family food budget by 10% this month.
      • Spend 10% less on entertainment this month

   • Create a plan to reach those goals.
      • For each of your common goals, spend some time figuring       out how you can get there.
         • Example- Keep to $25 a week for your lunches

   • What will you eat instead?
         • Should you pack a lunch? Do you need to cut down on the       Starbucks visits?
      • Put goals where you can both see them.

   • Follow up on goals

      • Agree to only talk about it once in a while
      • Focus on YOUR goals not the Jones’ excess
         • Focus on the good

   • You may not know what the solutions are if you don’t get help.

      • Take a class about budgeting
      • Read books
      • Learn the stock market.

5. Exercise Integrity in the moment of choice

• Learn to say no… and mean it!

• Remember the Marshmallow study

• Live your plan today

For more information, contact Matt at the
Townsend Relationship Center in Sandy or online at

Evening with Matt Townsend
Saturday, October 10

7pm to 9pm

$20 per Couple

Location: Noah’s in South Jordan

To register call 801-747-2121

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