Are you fighting with your spouse over money? If so, you could be doing more damage than you realize.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans say disagreements over finances are most likely to erupt into an argument, ahead of arguments over children, chores, work, and friends, according to a recent survey of married or cohabitating couples by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Fights with your spouse are never easy, but evidence shows that arguments over money can be particularly distressing. A 2011 study by Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University found that married couples who disagreed about money once a week were twice as likely to divorce as those who differed less than once a month. This is partly because money arguments encompass more than just finances. "Money doesn't just represent money; it represents love, power, control, self-esteem, freedom," says Olivia Mellan, a money coach and author of Money Harmony: Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Life and Relationships.
"Money decisions are such personal decisions, which is why they can lead to nasty fights," says Scott Palmer, who co-authored the book First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple's Guide to Financial Communication with his wife, Bethany.
When it comes to money, many couples are blinded by their own views on spending and saving, and often can't see or understand their partner's perspective. "We always think our own way of looking at money is the best, and it creates a tug-and-pull inside the relationship," says Bethany Palmer.
Communication is key to resolving money issues, experts say. Gaining a better understanding of your partner's financial habits will enable you to prevent arguments with your spouse over money--or at least quell them before they escalate. U.S. News spoke to experts for their recommendations:
By Daniel Bortz | U.S.News & World Report LP