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Money Spats Rise as Recession Worries Linger

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  • Money Spats Rise as Recession Worries Linger

    May 5, 2011

    If money arguments with your spouse or partner seem to be cropping up more frequently lately, you’re not alone.

    The percentage of people who report that discussions about household finances turn into arguments some or all of the time has risen to 61% from 45% over the last year, according to the latest Spending and Saving Tracker survey from American Express.

    Among young professionals under age 30, that number rises to 70%.

    An improving housing market, moderating credit card defaults, a strong stock market and other economic green shoots suggest that household finances are on firmer footing than they were a year ago. That should pave the way for fewer money arguments, not more of them.

    But with the recovery still wobbly many couples remain cautious about spending observes Leah Gerstner, vice-president at American Express. The prolonged strain of pinching pennies and postponing discretionary purchases could be bringing money tensions to the surface.

    “For many people the reality of the recession is setting in, just as gas and food prices are rising,” she says. “It’s taking some couples longer to rebuild their finances than they anticipated.” The fact that young professionals are still learning how to meld their individual financial lives harmoniously may help explain why they often bicker more than others, she adds.

    Laurie Blazek, a financial adviser based in River Forest, Illinois, isn’t surprised by the survey results. Blazek, whose practice includes divorce mediation as well as traditional financial planning, says the financial pressures brought by the recession have taken a toll on many of her clients’ marriages.

    “Money problems such as a job loss, falling home values or high credit card debt play a big role in the majority of divorce cases I handle,” says Blazek, whose own divorce 12 years ago was prompted, in part, by money issues. “A lot of people were living beyond their means, and when they lost a job they had no financial cushion to fall back on.” Even though many of these couples might have divorced regardless of the economic climate, she says, a tough economy may have brought things to a head sooner.

    Student loan debt often exacerbates financial stress among young professional couples. “I know one couple that makes well into six figures annually but aren’t able to save because they have over $250,000 in student loans,” she says. “That’s a huge long-term burden. And it isn’t extinguishable in bankruptcy.”

    Older, long-married couples she works with tend to fight less about money because their finances are on more solid footing and they’ve learned to resolve their differences over the years. But Blazek still referees some fairly heated discussions during planning sessions about how to invest for retirement.

    “One partner might be extremely conservative and want everything stashed in cash, while the other sees a benefit to investing more aggressively to keep up with inflation,” she says. “Their attitudes are often a product of how they were raised as children.”

    Although money disagreements may be on the rise, New York City marital counselor Gregory Kuhlman of stayhitched.com says there are ways to handle them without going to war.

    Have the talk — calmly.

    With the recession impacting many people’s finances it’s important to discuss money issues at the first sign of trouble rather than sweep them under the rug. “But you want to do it in a constructive way, without taking a critical tone,” he says. “Don’t wait until you’re tired and upset.”

    Understand what it’s really about.

    Money differences among couples aren’t just about money. “The surface issue can be about spending versus saving, how much debt someone has, or how someone’s earning potential will affect a couple’s lifestyle,” says Kuhlman. “But there are also deeper emotional issues. For some people, money is about having security. For others, it’s about being able to have fun. Some have a strong desire to assert power and control through money, while others prefer handing the responsibility to someone else.”

    Don’t share everything.

    “A lot of couples, including my wife and myself, have joint accounts for paying bills and other essentials but maintain separate accounts for discretionary spending purchases,” he says. “I don’t need to know how much she spends on hair care and she doesn’t need to know what I spend on car parts.”

    Agree to disagree.

    Accept differences and work around them rather than try to change someone’s habits and mindset. “The most important thing to understand is that these kinds of disagreements are often inevitable. The key is finding ways to manage them without generating lots of negativity.”

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-...orries-linger/
    Filed/discharged/closed Chapter 7 in 2010!

  • #2
    Someone on another forum said that if a person drives 15,000 miles a year at $4.00 a gallon, they only spend $138 more per month more than if gasoline was $2.00 a gallon. He said that doesn't amount to much. I argued with him. $136 x 75-million drivers is $10.2-billion dollars taken out of the USA economy each month. To put that in perspective, Walmart's total USA sales is $20-billion per month. That is not a small chunk of change!

    Comment


    • #3
      My spouse and I have been through many hard times, and luckily we always cling together, not fall apart. When one of us can't see a way forward, the other one is able to pick up the pieces. Our roughest time in our 35 years of marriage has been these last few months, but we are over the hurdle. I credit it to being away from our families when we first got married (he got us stationed in Hawaii for four years), and learning to only lean on each other.

      Some people are going to criticize us for this bankruptcy, but we have to look out for ourselves. We have no inheritances to count on, no saving for retirement in 15 years, now we will have no home. Should we continue with $450,000 of debt, or try to save something for retirement? I think I will ask anyone who criticizes me if they would like to fund my retirement for me, lol.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by GoneBust View Post
        Someone on another forum said that if a person drives 15,000 miles a year at $4.00 a gallon, they only spend $138 more per month more than if gasoline was $2.00 a gallon. He said that doesn't amount to much. I argued with him. $136 x 75-million drivers is $10.2-billion dollars taken out of the USA economy each month. To put that in perspective, Walmart's total USA sales is $20-billion per month. That is not a small chunk of change!
        I agree with you GoneBust. You can't get around the fact the the price doubled. Now you have to spend/save $136 less than you were previously each month. Something has to give so you can pay for higher gas prices.
        Filed/discharged/closed Chapter 7 in 2010!

        Comment


        • #5
          Good article. I have seen right here divorces occur during and shortly after bk. Money is the main reason for most divorces. You would think infidelity but not so.

          Here is one reason we are having soon to come hyper inflation. The ball is not rolling yet but as the snowball rolls it will get much bigger faster.

          This article regarding our "Vacationer in Chief" before the successful cleansing of Osama.

          http://socyberty.com/issues/white-ho...ama-bin-laden/

          It's a long but revealing read.
          If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by StrawberrySu View Post
            My spouse and I have been through many hard times, and luckily we always cling together, not fall apart. When one of us can't see a way forward, the other one is able to pick up the pieces. Our roughest time in our 35 years of marriage has been these last few months, but we are over the hurdle. I credit it to being away from our families when we first got married (he got us stationed in Hawaii for four years), and learning to only lean on each other.

            Some people are going to criticize us for this bankruptcy, but we have to look out for ourselves. We have no inheritances to count on, no saving for retirement in 15 years, now we will have no home. Should we continue with $450,000 of debt, or try to save something for retirement? I think I will ask anyone who criticizes me if they would like to fund my retirement for me, lol.
            Strawberry, Mrs. and I have been married for 23 years. Her first and my second. I was married 23 years previously. Mrs. was a caretaker of her Mother who had Alzheimer. As she was always 'head of household' we started immediately into a power struggle. I set her down and stated there would only be one person wearing the pants in this house. I stated that we will discuss everything with a 50/50 vote except my half holds 51%. She stated that a marriage is renegotiated daily. To date with those terms, I have never used my 51% and we hug everyday. We get along very well and often sit down to discuss our problems. No personal secrets at all. Unless otherwise not permitted, when you see her I will be there, when you see me, she will be at my side. It is called love. We were both middle aged when we met. 'Hub
            If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hub, what a truly heartfelt and beautiful thing to say.

              To the original article, the stock market rise is NOT a "green shoot." That is utterly irrelevant to most Americans, to most working people. What matters is the stagnant and falling wages, unemployment, high prices for food and gas, etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AngelinaCatHub View Post
                Strawberry, Mrs. and I have been married for 23 years. Her first and my second. I was married 23 years previously. Mrs. was a caretaker of her Mother who had Alzheimer. As she was always 'head of household' we started immediately into a power struggle. I set her down and stated there would only be one person wearing the pants in this house. I stated that we will discuss everything with a 50/50 vote except my half holds 51%. She stated that a marriage is renegotiated daily. To date with those terms, I have never used my 51% and we hug everyday. We get along very well and often sit down to discuss our problems. No personal secrets at all. Unless otherwise not permitted, when you see her I will be there, when you see me, she will be at my side. It is called love. We were both middle aged when we met. 'Hub
                Lol, Hub, you sound like my hub and me! I can't keep a secret from him to save my life! We are usually always together too. I also cared for my mother who was on dialysis, for four years prior to her death, and at her funeral, my hub cried like I have never seen, he loved her too. We are a 49/51 split too, unfortunately we both think we have the 51% while pretending to let the other have it .. if that makes any sense? I am considered the brains and he is the brawn, at the same time I am the absent minded professor while he has common sense and street smarts. I am bookish and he is hands on. What can I say, opposites attract and it works for us!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by StrawberrySu View Post
                  Lol, Hub, you sound like my hub and me! I can't keep a secret from him to save my life! We are usually always together too. I also cared for my mother who was on dialysis, for four years prior to her death, and at her funeral, my hub cried like I have never seen, he loved her too. We are a 49/51 split too, unfortunately we both think we have the 51% while pretending to let the other have it .. if that makes any sense? I am considered the brains and he is the brawn, at the same time I am the absent minded professor while he has common sense and street smarts. I am bookish and he is hands on. What can I say, opposites attract and it works for us!
                  LOLOL. I AM THE BOSS!!! I CHOSE WHEN I WANT TO DO THE DISHES. My 51%. I also have rights to the type of soap to use in the laundry as well as what wax for our furniture. So you see, we have worked out an equitable agreement. It works for us. LOL. 'Hub
                  If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GoneBust View Post
                    Someone on another forum said that if a person drives 15,000 miles a year at $4.00 a gallon, they only spend $138 more per month more than if gasoline was $2.00 a gallon. He said that doesn't amount to much. I argued with him. $136 x 75-million drivers is $10.2-billion dollars taken out of the USA economy each month. To put that in perspective, Walmart's total USA sales is $20-billion per month. That is not a small chunk of change!

                    Sounds like you were debating with either a CNBC pundit or Mr. Bernanke himself.

                    Just watch what happens at the end of the year. I will bet you all that the S.S. recipients get hosed again on their COLA due to the fact that there is no rising prices by the govt's standards.
                    The essence of freedom is the proper limitation of Government

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great article!

                      it's not surprising but this reality hit so many families today. Financial matters have been an issue between husband and wife. I believe it's important any money issues revolving inside the home, instead of spinning it until it destroys relationship

                      Comment

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