It's a leading cause of divorce. Here are some suggestions for avoiding them.
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Kevin McCormally: I am Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger's, and I am here with Janet Bodnar, the Deputy Editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine to talk about men, women, and money. Janet, it seems that husbands and wives are always arguing about money. What's going on here?
Janet Bodnar: Well, for one thing Kevin, opposites do tend to attract, that is just the way life is. And also, what you do is you tend to expect that your spouse is going to be on the same page as you are as far as financial goals and that's not necessarily the case. You want a house, he wants a vacation next year, who knows. A study show that men and women really do fight about money more than anything else and it's the leading cause of divorce.
Kevin McCormally: What are the biggest areas of disagreement?
Janet Bodnar: Classic case is the spender versus the saver, and other situation is where one spouse takes care of the books and the other spouse either doesn't know or doesn't care what's going on and that leads to a lot of friction. Also sometimes with investing, one spouse is willing to take more risk than the other spouse and that leads to a lot of problems.
Kevin McCormally: How do you solve these problems?
Janet Bodnar: Well, the easiest way is to talk about this stuff which a lot of people don't and to learn how to compromise, but you do need some practical strategies as well.
Kevin McCormally: Any idea?
Janet Bodnar: Sure do. As far as the spender versus the saver is concerned, if each of you had a little slush fund and it could be a couple of $100, whatever feels comfortable in the family budget that you can spend on your own, no questions asked. That really eases a lot of pressure. If it's a situation where one of you is managing the money and the other one doesn't know what's going on, well, a little reverse would help. Have the other person manage the check-in account for a couple of months, or hire a book keeper if all else feels.
As far as the risk is concerned, somebody wants to take more risk, you don't have to risk all of your money. Take your investable assets, 10% of them can be the funny money or the fun money for whoever wants to take the risk. But in each case, you should each manage your own retirement assets and that gives you a big comfort level.
Kevin McCormally: Okay Janet, now the big question. Should couples pool their money or should they keep separate accounts?
Janet Bodnar: That's going to depend couple to couple whatever you feel comfortable with is fine. I think the most practical solution is there's got to be some joint account because that's the most convenient way to pay the bills. But again, if each spouse especially if you are working and you each have your own income, if each spouse has an account that they can tap on their own, it makes everyone feel a lot better.