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Watch out for red flags
Does your spouse or partner have thoughts about money that don't mesh well with yours? For example, does he or she make large purchases on payday instead of putting the money into a savings account? Does the person responsible for paying the bills forget to do it on time? We all make financial mistakes but if you see a pattern here, it's something that needs to be resolved.
Talk about your money habits
If you are having problems with your finances, you need to talk about your money habits. How do you view money? Is it a way to reach goals or to just pay bills and have a good time? This is an area where you definitely need to be on the same page.
You also need to discuss your future financial plans. For example, do you have savings goals? Are you putting aside money for retirement or is it for a two-week vacation in Europe? The two of you need to talk about your goals. Is it to buy a house or get a new car? It's important that you define goals that will keep you working together and give the two of you something to look forward to.
Make a plan
Do you have a budget? If not, the two of you should work together to create one. This will eliminate a lot of friction because the two of you will have agreed on how much you will spend in which areas. This cuts down on both stress and arguments.
How are you handling debt?
It's critical that the two of you agree as to how you handle debt. If one of you is putting big charges on credit cards, while the other sits and boils, you have a serious problem. As part of your budgeting, you need to agree as to how you will handle debt. Of course, the best answer is to not have any. But if you do have debts, how do you plan to pay them off. For example, could you agree to “snowball” or “avalanche” your credit card debts? Should you get a debt consolidation loan? Maybe your best answer would be consumer credit counseling. In any event, one of you will need to take responsibility for creating and implementing a plan for handling those debts. If it’s you, will your partner or spouse stick with whatever plans you develop because if not, it’s doomed to fail. And failure could equal divorce.
What you do when you can’t agree?”
No matter how hard you try to make all important decisions jointly, the time will come when you just won’t be able to agree – whether it’s to go on vacation, buy a car or just get a new cell phone. When you reach this point, how do you handle this? Can the disagreement be handled without hurt feelings? Do you have a plan for resolving the conflict so when the time comes that you can’t make a joint decision, you will at least know how to handle the matter.