Women & Money: Conflict Resolution for Your Financial Woes

Don't let money problems ruin your relationship

hefreeman01262Savvy money management skills are a necessity to weather these tough economic times. BlackEnterprise.com has got you covered with our supplement to the magazine’s three-part “Women & Money” series.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll have money management tips and strategies from Harrine Freeman, CEO and owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit counseling service.

BlackEnteprise.com: What are some ways to resolve conflicts about money as a wife or girlfriend?

Harrine Freeman: Discuss your future financial goals and develop a plan to achieve those goals. Create a budget. This is one of the most fundamental elements of proper financial planning. Your budget should include all monthly household expenses, debt, and savings goals.  Your budget should be flexible enough to adjust to unexpected expenses.

Here are six tips to resolve conflicts regarding money:

Fight fair. Don’t bring others into the conflict and don’t compare your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend to a previous relationship. Wait until you have calmed down to discuss the issue and work together until the issue is resolved or until you are able to compromise. If your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend is being difficult, be the bigger person and lead by example to solve the issue in a pleasant manner. Apologize, even if you did nothing wrong, to ease the tension which will lead to resolution of the conflict.

Be free with information. Don’t make your spouse or boyfriend feel like a stranger regarding their household finances.  Share all financial records, statements and balances with him.

Don’t fight over money. Set clear guidelines on how money will be spent, setup joint accounts to pay household bills, you can each create a separate account to pay for your expenses outside of the household bills.  If you are concerned about ownership, setup accounts with both names on each account that you both pay for, i.e. mortgage loans, apartment/condo leases, debt, etc.

Be responsible with spending. Sit down weekly or monthly, and develop a plan how bills will be paid, who will choose insurance, companies you do business with, investments, etc. Some family members want to follow a budget, and others don’t. If you notice your boyfriend or husband being less responsible with spending, bring it to him attention in a non-confrontational manner and help him to see the benefits of responsible spending, i.e. pay off mortgage, pay off car loan, buy investment property, etc.

Examine values. If your values, such as paying bills on time, paying off debt, or paying taxes, clash, work together to develop a plan so you are both on the same page and have the same financial goals. In some cases, let your husband choose the approach for a financial decision, and in some cases you choose the approach for a financial decision. If you are unable to come to an agreement, seek help from a financial adviser or counselor.

Set priorities. Set financial priorities regarding paying off debt, spending, and investing by setting short-term and long-term goals. Set a target date for each goal. Review goals every

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