Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve

Finances are one of the leading causes of arguments among couples, trumping children and chores!

What is it about money that causes so much strife?

Whether it is savings (too much or too little), unexpected expenses, disagreements on needs versus wants, most problems can be traced back to a lack of communication.

People think others “should” respect their needs and desires, that they “could” be more understanding, and if they “would” just agree with you, misunderstandings could be avoided. In other words, we all want things our own way.

We often project our beliefs on our spouses without giving them the opportunity to present their opinion or view on a subject.

Let me use myself as an example. When I married my husband, my daughter was attending a private catholic school. (If you read my past blogs you are aware I was deeply in debt after my first marriage ended). My husband, Kelly, suggested we send my daughter to public school and put the tuition money toward helping me pay down my debt. We had a few arguments about this before we actually sat down and discussed why this was so important to me. I went to catholic schools my whole life….I attended an all-girls catholic high school and felt my education really helped to shape my character, my ethics, and helped to empower me as a woman. In other words, a private education was an important part of my core values. I wanted my daughter to have an experience that would be equally beneficial and I was willing to pay for that. I had considered the cost of education as part of my plan to pay off my debt, which I successfully accomplished ahead of schedule. My husband attended public schools and received an equally good education. Once he realized why attending a private school was so important to me and he accepted it, there were no more arguments. He may not have understood or agreed with me 100%, but he was willing to accept it.

It is unfair to expect your spouse to agree with all of your needs or want because you think he or she “should.”

A marriage is a partnership that requires compromise and sometimes sacrifice. Good open communication can help you to understand each other and decrease the arguments around all things financial.

The next time you are having a disagreement about a financial matter and you think, “I wish he or she would, could, or should do something” just because it is what you want, take the opportunity to pause and ask yourself why you feel this way? Consider discussing the pros and cons of whatever it is you are arguing about and take the time to understand your partner’s viewpoint first.

Note: Due to industry regulations on communication, we are unable to allow for public comments on this blog. Please feel free to email me your questions and/or comments to Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. NFP Securities, Inc. is not affiliated with Fish & Associates.