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  • 14 Money Problems of Couples and How to Deal with them

  • couple discussing finances

    As we all know, love is not enough to make a union last. There should be respect, friendship, trust, and a mutual understanding of how money (whether yours, your partner’s, or the household’s) should be handled. “Money is a common [source of] conflict among married couples simply because a lot of the things they do involve money: paying the bills,  putting food on the table, sending the kids to school, going on vacation,  etc.,” explains Alvin Tabañag,  a registered financial planner and financial educator. “Problems arise when husband and wife have different financial priorities.” “Prior to marriage, each individual already has his or her own financial background, lifestyle, mindset, and upbringing,” adds child and adult psychiatrist Ann Princess Grana-Nespral, M.D., D.P.B.P.  “Yours may not necessarily be compatible with your partner’s.”

    “When a couple gets married, they don’t just become one mentally, physically, and emotionally —they also become one financially,” says wealth coach and motivational speaker Chinkee Tan. “Everything they own becomes conjugal property under the law, including their debts. So if these liabilities are not disclosed or discussed properly, these may cause problems later on.”

    Family ties
    1. “My mother-in-law is sick and my husband needs to help out financially, but it’s taking a toll on our own finances.”

    Tan: “Part of family finance is setting aside a ‘helping fund.’ We all have relatives who may need our help, just as we may also need theirs. Agree as a couple on how much money you can set aside for this fund. Let your husband explain to his family that this is the best you can do for now.”

    Dr. Grana-Nespral: “Discuss with hubby: What is a realistic amount you can give your mother-in-law without draining your savings? How much are you comfortable to share,  and how much does he think he needs to contribute? Agree on an amount.”


    2. “I live with my husband’s family — his parents and his brother’s family of five. We have only one child. He and his brother have been splitting the household expenses equally between them. I think it’s an unfair deal, since my brother-in-law’s family consumes more.”

    Tabañag: “First, find out how your husband feels about the arrangement. If he can afford to pay for half and doesn’t mind the setup, and it’s not affecting your family’s financial condition, then don’t rock the boat.  “But if your husband shares your sentiment, then he should talk to his brother so they could agree on a more equitable arrangement. An equitable arrangement doesn’t necessarily mean your brother-in-law will have to give more. Yes, his family consumes more, but having more kids can also mean having more hands to help out at home.”

    Dr. Grana-Nespral: “Don’t confront the in-laws right away. First, gently discuss with your husband how you feel. Say, ‘I think we can adjust the bills payment accordingly since we consume only this much,’ but don’t say, ‘The arrangement is unfair! Your brother’s family consumes more than we do!’ You and your husband must show a united front to your in-laws if you really want to adjust the situation. If you don’t have your husband’s support, no changes may occur. The best solution, though, would be to move out and live on your own, so you could better gauge how much your cost of living is, without any comparisons. Discuss with your husband if this is feasible.”

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    3. “My husband has a child from a previous relationship. I understand he has financial obligations to the child, but the mother seems to be taking advantage of the situation: she enrolled the child in a very expensive school, plus extra-curricular classes, and now she wants my husband to pay for the driver she hired! He is inclined to give in — out of guilt —but I feel I should put my foot down.”

    Tabañag: “There should be a clear line between justifiable child support and extortion. I think, in this case, what the ex is asking for is excessive and beyond normal child support. Your husband should not feel guilty about refusing such a ridiculous demand. Consult a lawyer for clarification.”

    Dr. Grana-Nespral: “Your husband’s foremost financial obligation is towards your family. Tell him you may not be able to afford the additional expenses from his previous relationship because such expenses are not even part of your lifestyle. He cannot make financial decisions without your involvement in the decision-making process.”

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