Budgeting Blunders: Curing the “I Have It” Syndrome

You want to be financially secure, out of debt and prepared for any emergency that comes down the pike. You’ve read sites like this and listened to Suzie Orman and Dave Ramsey to get an idea of what you want to do. You even have detailed sample budgeting ready to show your spouse or roommate that can help you reduce debt and save money. In your opinion it’s a win-win situation.

And yet, the other person in your life doesn’t want to hear any of it. They believe the financial situation is under control or will eventually be stable as long as things quiet down. You tell the other person you’d be willing to work with them to see there’s something you could fix with the monetary issues. All your partner does is shakes their head, puts their hand up and declares “I have it. Don’t worry.” Nevertheless, you constantly do all the budgeting.

This situation is not uncommon across the country. There have been numerous studies written that describe the number one reason for divorce is issues with money instead of infidelity. Even friendships can be severely marred by cashflow difficulties. Believe us wrong? Scan the televised court shows one afternoon and you’ll see what we mean.

Without proper communication these situations can quickly get out of control and lead to further consequences that may cost both parties extra money down the line. It’s best to find a compromise between partners before it gets too late. Here are a few things to try to avoid filing for divorce or looking for a new roommate.

1. Find a neutral location. Sometimes the place where the money worries are happening causes extra tension that leads to unnecessary arguments. To get a better grasp of the situation it may be necessary to meet at a neutral location like a coffee shop in order to hash out the problems. Hot coffee and comfort food tend to ease the building pressures.

2. Don’t scold. Your spouse or roommate will immediately go into defensive mode if you begin a sentence with “I can’t believe you’ve gotten us into this financial mess.” Scolding or blaming the other person does nothing for constructive dialogue. Same thing when you say “I could do this better than you.” In these types of situation it’s best to start out with some sort of compliment. Perhaps “I thank you for taking this task on,” or, “I appreciate how hard you work on this.” The good opinion helps blunt some of the concerns you may have and may provide an opening for the spouse or partner to admit some of their own fears and possible solutions with budgeting.

3. Get a third party involved. There are situations that cannot be solved by discussion alone. A free-spending or abusive second party may not be willing to talk about the current financial environment. In these circumstances a third party may need to be involved to help bridge the gap. This could be a financial advisor, member of the clergy or even a marriage counselor.

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