A couple’s guide to fighting about money

By Jennifer Barrett | MarketWatch

It’s been 17 years since David Bach, co-founder of AE Wealth Management and nine-time best-selling author, published “Smart Couples Finish Rich.” But very little has changed when it comes to money and couples, he says.

While technology has evolved to help simplify our finances—and our ideas about who should earn more have, too—we’re still re-enacting many of the same money fights our parents had. And money’s still cited as the number one cause of splits.

Bach, who released an updated version of his book earlier this year, explains why that is and how to keep battles over money from breaking up your relationship.

Why do couples fight so much over money?

Because we almost always marry our financial opposite. You’re either born to save or you’re born to spend, and financial opposites attract. That can lead to enormous power struggles and trust issues and regular fights.

Are we still fighting over the same things couples did 17 years ago?

Yes. And the challenge with money is that if you’re not in the boat together, rowing in the same direction, it’s not a once-a-year fight, it’s constant. There’s an ongoing battle when the bills come in around how the money is being spent. Even if they’re little battles, or little jabs…it comes down to a breakdown of trust.

If you have a goal to go in one direction, and your partner is doing something that takes you away from that, that’s financial infidelity. If money is pulling you apart and you don’t fix what you’re fighting about, everything else in your relationship will erode.

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