By Merrie Leininger, McClatchy/Tribune
December 20, 2011
Money spats are annoying, repetitive and can be a cause of divorce.
Self magazine reports that a 2009 Utah State University study found that couples who argue about finances once a week are 30 percent more likely to divorce than those who do it less often.
With that mind, the magazine walks you through these steps to talk about money concerns right now.
Pick your moment. Bad day at work? Don't vent about your mate's spendy love of iTunes. Instead, bring up the issue when you're calm and focused and so is your partner. If you can't find the right moment, schedule an appointment for both of you to sit down with the finances.
Set a timer. Dave Ramsey, author of "The Total Money Makeover" (Thomas Nelson), tells couples to keep talks to 17 minutes, tops. Putting a deadline on it results in more conclusions and fewer accusations.
Don't criticize. First describe the impact of the issue on you. Then state your wish.
Tackle one thing. The talk will be less charged if you stick to a bite-size topic. "Once you've solved a few tiny issues, you'll be more confident about resolving big stuff," Barbara Nusbaum, a financial psychologist, tells Self.
Plumb your past. "Swap stories about your financial upbringing — who paid the bills, how your family treated debt," Nusbaum says. This helps both of you understand where you're coming from and feel less defensive.