Five Ways to Argue Less About Money featuring Shanna Skidmore

Five Ways to Argue Less About Money in Marriage featuring Shanna Skidmore | cottagehillmag.com


Money isn't always the easiest topic of discussion, but it is something that affects our lives, businesses, and relationships daily. Today we are so thrilled to have business strategist and financial coach Shanna Skidmore to share some tips on having better relationships with money. Read more after the jump.

Did you know that disagreements about money are the leading cause of stress in relationships? According to a CNBC study, 35% of relationships rate money as the leading cause of friction in their relationship. The American Psychology Association released a study that said at least a quarter of all Americans are feeling extreme financial stress. I would guess this statistic goes up when one or both partners are self-employed. According to a poll conducted by creditcards.com, Couples don't just argue about money: they hide transactions from each other. One in 5 Americans in a relationship say they have spent $500 or more and not told their partner, and 6 percent maintain secret accounts or credit card. According to the Huffington Post, half of Americans are spending more than they make. That means every year half of Americans go more and more in debt by living above their means.

Wow! No wonder most Americans dread and avoid the topic of money!

Over the past ten years I have studied money patterns in the realm of small business. You would be amazed to find that many of the things you struggle with, aren’t all that uncommon. Most people are in a similar boat when it comes to money but since this topic is so hush-hush, most feel alone in their struggle. What I’ve also come to learn is that these money woos can be dramatically improved with some very simple steps.

Here are five key steps I’ve learned to having a healthier relationship with money, a healthier relationship, and a more thriving business.

1.     Define what you really want.

A common goal leads to habit change, so get on the same page about your goals. More often than not, women are categorized as the “spender” in the relationship. This can cause a lot of strain when both parties aren’t on the same page about your money goals. Cutting those ingrained spending habits isn’t going to happen overnight, but it is much more likely to happen when you are clear about what you want. Instant gratification is much easier to digest than long-term money goals. So get those big goals on paper and make it a game to start saving for them!

2.     Make room for individual preferences.

Men and women typically spend money on different things. In general men make larger purchases but less frequently (hobbies, trips, etc) while women spend more frequently on less expense items (shoes, clothing, home items, etc). We often try to force our spending preferences on each other, putting more importance on our own preference. However it is important to allow each person to express individual spending preferences without judgment. There has to be a balance. If one party makes the argument that saving is more important than traveling, the other party who values travel over saving will always feel like an unequal voice. It is important to give value to both and make goals with both preferences in mind.

I also recommend having a weekly “allowance” for each person. This allows each party to spend on his or her individual preferences without have to run it by the other person. For instance, I really like grabbing a coffee throughout the week and choose to spend my $20 allowance on coffee or magazines. While my hubs tends to save up his $20 allowance to buy bigger items for his hobbies.

3.     Get clear on expectations.

It is important to know who is paying the bills, who is managing the day to day and what income each person is responsible for contributing. Having these conversations will ease a lot of tension. Unspoken expectations can lead to feelings of guilt and discontentment.

This is especially important if one or both partners are pursuing entrepreneurship. I hear many stories of entrepreneurs who feel guilty for not replacing their former corporate salary with their new business venture. First of all, that is a lot of pressure to put on your new business. Secondly, many of these feelings are unfounded expectations and when discussed is not something the spouse expected at all.

4.     Honor every dollar.

The worst feeling when it comes to your money is looking back and wondering where it all went. One of the best money habits you can implement is taking the time to monthly review where you are spending money and ask the question “is that where we want our money to go?” If it isn’t, change it.

5.     Go on a money date.

Once a month my husband and I make a habit of going out to breakfast and discussing our money goals. We review where we spent the last month, what big expenses we have coming up and name our spending priorities for the upcoming month. We have made this a fun time to talk about dreams and fears and have open conversation about spending money with intention.

As Zig Ziglar says, “Money isn’t everything but it ranks right up there with oxygen”.

Give your relationship, your small business and yourself the space to get comfortable talking about money. You don’t have to be a money person to feel confident and comfortable in the decisions you are making regarding your money. Awareness is the key.

To spending with intention,

Shanna Skidmore

Photography by Haley Sheffield featuring illustrator and floral designer Meredith Mejerle Rush