Friday, December 19, 2008

Increase the Peace: Fizzle out the Feuding

Feuding from time to time about money is natural for most couples. But never is it fun or the best use of time, especially in the dwindling free time of modern day life. So taking steps to prevent arguments and reduce the intensity of ones that may occur is vital are to creating more positive interactions regarding finances. Some of the basic ways feuds can be curtailed are communication, openness (being honest and sincere!), and being a team in developing (and adapting, etc.) a budget along with short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial, personal, and family goals.

Here are some great articles regarding ways to reduce the feuding and opening the lines of communication to help stamp out the feuds:

From Prime Time Money - 6 Ways to Argue Less About Money
From Get Rich Slowly - Ask the Readers: How Can I Get My Wife to Talk About Money

Reduce the feuding and increase the peace!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yin vs. Yang or Saver vs. Spender

Often relationships are composed of one person more inclined to spend and the other person more inclined to save. Sometimes the difference between the "spender" and the "saver" are vast, while other times, the difference is subtle. Even the categorization of who is the "spender" and who is the "saver" may switch depending on the scenario. However, any difference in personal finances has the potential to cause some degree of conflict.

Having these differences does not have to be an all out battle call, though. Despite being opposing energies, yin and yang are naturally complementary. So, too, can it be with the saver and the spender when they come together in a relationship. A better, more balanced partnership can result.

To spend. To save. Those are two essentials of modern day life. Actually, those two concepts have been a component of life, spanning the stretch of time. Today we usually think of these verbs in terms of money. But energy and time are also things that can be spent or saved. One can choose to conserve or expend energy, which is closely tied to how one selects what activities they devote their time to. There have always been these options in life when one really thinks about what "spending" and "saving" means. And when viewing these verbs from a broad scope, one can see that each act is important. Each act is needed to sustain life. And that each act has its own place and importance in living.

When we jump back to saving and spending in relation to money, we can likewise see that only saving or only spending really makes no sense. You can't really live life being on the extreme of either end. A balanced life requires a thoughtful approach to saving and a thoughtful approach to spending.

In the rare case that the "saver" in the relationship hoards money to an unnatural degree and the "spender" is spending money with reckless abandon, finding a healthy balance will be more of a challenge, but nonetheless, not impossible to merge. Working as a unit, this pairing can create a more natural, balanced approach by helping each other step outside of their normal relationship to money so as to find a more healthy way to deal with their financial life.

Luckily, most couples that differ on the financial spectrum don't approach money in such a contrasting way that they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. And since most couples come together in the hopes of creating a healthy, joyful, responsible, and purposeful life, obtaining a general conscious on financial matters does not have to be approached as a battle between opposites. Spending and saving are both components of creating such a life together, so recognizing the importance of each element in money management can go a long way in coming together as a team regarding finances.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Family Feuds when Opposites Attract

Opposites may attract, fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. But when a couple has opposite views on the financial front, things can get a little intense at times.

Many people stress the importance of marrying someone who has similar values regarding money. That's wise fodder for consideration, but even when this occurs, the financial spectrum is huge, and thus, varying values on different financial aspects are a possibility. And even if there is a general consensus (e.g., that building an emergency fund is important), couples may assign different degrees of importance to a goal (e.g., one thinks that saving 3 months of income is plenty while the other wants to fill that fund with a year's worth of expenses).

This blog is an acknowledgement to the fact that even the most cohesive families may feud at times due to money matters. Yet, while these disagreements about financial topics may occur, our purpose is to find a way to calmly approach family finances, compromise as needed, and obtain a healthy balance so that these different view points don't override what should be a cozy atmosphere of love and joy at home.