Women & Money: Conflict Resolution for Your Financial Woes

Don't let money problems ruin your relationship

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hefreeman01262Savvy money management skills are a necessity to weather these tough economic times. BlackEnterprise.com has got you covered with our supplement to the magazine’s three-part “Women & Money” series.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll have money management tips and strategies from Harrine Freeman, CEO and owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit counseling service.

BlackEnteprise.com: What are some ways to resolve conflicts about money as a wife or girlfriend?

Harrine Freeman: Discuss your future financial goals and develop a plan to achieve those goals. Create a budget. This is one of the most fundamental elements of proper financial planning. Your budget should include all monthly household expenses, debt, and savings goals.  Your budget should be flexible enough to adjust to unexpected expenses.

Here are six tips to resolve conflicts regarding money:

Fight fair. Don’t bring others into the conflict and don’t compare your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend to a previous relationship. Wait until you have calmed down to discuss the issue and work together until the issue is resolved or until you are able to compromise. If your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend is being difficult, be the bigger person and lead by example to solve the issue in a pleasant manner. Apologize, even if you did nothing wrong, to ease the tension which will lead to resolution of the conflict.

Be free with information. Don’t make your spouse or boyfriend feel like a stranger regarding their household finances.  Share all financial records, statements and balances with him.

Don’t fight over money. Set clear guidelines on how money will be spent, setup joint accounts to pay household bills, you can each create a separate account to pay for your expenses outside of the household bills.  If you are concerned about ownership, setup accounts with both names on each account that you both pay for, i.e. mortgage loans, apartment/condo leases, debt, etc.

Be responsible with spending. Sit down weekly or monthly, and develop a plan how bills will be paid, who will choose insurance, companies you do business with, investments, etc. Some family members want to follow a budget, and others don’t. If you notice your boyfriend or husband being less responsible with spending, bring it to him attention in a non-confrontational manner and help him to see the benefits of responsible spending, i.e. pay off mortgage, pay off car loan, buy investment property, etc.

Examine values. If your values, such as paying bills on time, paying off debt, or paying taxes, clash, work together to develop a plan so you are both on the same page and have the same financial goals. In some cases, let your husband choose the approach for a financial decision, and in some cases you choose the approach for a financial decision. If you are unable to come to an agreement, seek help from a financial adviser or counselor.

Set priorities. Set financial priorities regarding paying off debt, spending, and investing by setting short-term and long-term goals. Set a target date for each goal. Review goals every

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  • Lynn

    Very helpful, I plan to incorparate this into my finacial plan.

  • Hi Lynn, thanks for your feedback. I am glad you liked the tips I provided.

  • Cassie

    I have recently been contacted by a debt elimination specialist concerning my debt. The offer states that it uses little-known consumer protection laws, the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act to legally discharge my unsecured debt and restore my credit rating.

    My understanding is that it is a one-time fix to get out of debt card debt.

    Do you know anything about these types of offers?

  • Renita Burns

    check out this article http://blackenterprise.com/blogs/2009/02/11/the-cutting-edge-avoiding-credit-consolidation-scams/

    Also, you need to be extremely suspicious if these companies are contacting you. This sounds like a possible scam. Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau to make sure it’s legit.

  • Hi Cassie, there is no one-time fix to get out of debt. You didn’t get into debt overnight and you can’t get out of debt in one day or even one month unless you win the lottery or get an inheritance.

    Beware of some companies that offer guarantees or make huge promises. You can research those acts yourself to find out what your rights are as a consumer.

    Renita is correct, you should be aware of unsolicited phones calls because many scams have started because of the recession.

    Cassie you can do research on your own at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre01.shtm.

  • kimer lee

    currently seeking informative tools to improve my money management skills. Please continue to share more I know there are many out there who are in need of help especially in these dreary economic times.