January Survey Reveals Top Financial Relationship Stressors

Dishonesty and Disagreements Related to Money
Are Common & Must be Addressed Early

"Financial Pathways of the Piedmont reports that nearly half of all participants (47%) in a January online poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC) responded that disagreements about money are most likely to cause the greatest stress in their relationships.

Disputes about money management can begin as early as the first date, but they become lethal to relationships when they go unaddressed. As the years go by, what could have started as a constructive conversation about finance becomes a heated battle over who is right. Observations become accusations, and trust becomes suspicion. Growing levels of mistrust can lead to financial infidelity, which registered on the survey as a top stress point for 25% of the respondents.

Financial Pathways of the Piedmont recommends that couples press the pause button before things spiral out of control and have a constructive conversation about money. “Most people have a different approach to money management than their spouse or partner. Left unaddressed, those differences can lead to the end of the line for many couples,” said Peter Laroche, President and CEO of Financial Pathways of the Piedmont.

Laroche continues that understanding those differences means having honest discussions early in a relationship so the rules are mutually accepted and the financial goals are clear. “No matter the differences or challenges, the best approach is to start communicating early,” he said.

Financial Pathways of the Piedmont recommends the following guidelines for couples:

  • Be honest with yourself and each other when it comes to financial matters. As financial challenges appear, work together to address them directly instead of ignoring problems and wishing they will resolve themselves.
  • Establish money rules for the relationship and hold each other accountable. Discuss what will be jointly managed and set rules for making independent spending decisions.
  • Don’t conceal debt or sources of income from each other. Financial infidelity should be taken as seriously as any other form of cheating. Adhere to a policy of financial transparency to strengthen trust in the relationship.
  • Set a time and place where financial matters can be discussed on a regular basis, free of distractions.
  • Keep the tone of the conversation casual, and remain open to what each other has to say.
  • If a disagreement should go unresolved during a conversation, take a moment to find acceptable ways to compromise or consider revisiting the issue after a short time-out.
  • If a financial mistake is made, couples should work together to find solutions without assigning blame. Be willing to accept a fair share of the responsibility for the problem and the solution.
  • When tracking joint financial goals, understand that changing circumstances require a degree of flexibility from both partners in a relationship.
  • Understand that a single financial setback impacting one person ultimately affects the entire relationship, no matter how large or small the issue.

Often, money issues may reveal deeper problems in the relationship that require outside intervention. Sometimes, it helps to seek advice from a relationship counselor if matters cannot be resolved through normal communication.

The same is true for the financial side of the equation. Seeking advice from a financial counselor at Financial Pathways of the Piedmont can help address challenges and restore financial health, making it easier to focus on other aspects of the relationship. Couples can reach Financial Pathways of the Piedmont directly at 336-896-1191 or   TOLL FREE at 1-888-474-8015 or by visiting www.financialpaths.org.

The actual poll question and results are as follows:

Which of the following would be likely to cause you the most stress in a relationship?
  1. Frequent disagreements about financial matters 47%
  2. A partner who is too frugal 2%
  3. A partner who overspends 14%
  4. A partner who is secretive or dishonest about their finances 25%
  5. None of the above 11%

Note: The NFCC’s January Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC website (http://www.NFCC.org) from January 1-31, 2015, and was answered by 1126 individuals.

About Financial Pathways of the Piedmont (financialpaths.org)                                                          

A nonprofit United Way agency serving the Piedmont area for nearly 45 years, Financial Pathways works to offer all people a chance for financial well-being. The agency offers one-on-one counseling and educational opportunities free or at a very low cost to individuals and families. This guidance serves both to manage financial crises and reach personal goals such as saving and homeownership. Certified counselors and educators address all aspects of personal finances: budgeting, improving credit and accessing credit wisely, resolving debt, saving, succeeding at homeownership, and avoiding foreclosure and other financial crises. In September 2014, the agency was awarded the state’s highest non-profit recognition, a Stewardship Award from the NC Center for Nonprofits. For more information, visit www.financialpaths.org <http://www.financialpaths.org>."

- A Press Release

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