No surprise: The No. 1 thing couples argue about is money, according to Jeff Motske, CFP, author of The Couple’s Guide to Financial Compatibility (Da Capo Press). The problem? Lack of communication. To get partners talking, Motske created The War of the Wallets Quiz, which poses questions such as How do you feel about debt? and What do you consider splurge-worthy?
“You’re never going to agree on everything—and that’s all right. But you must agree to communicate,” he says.
Talking tips from Motske:
Have a financial date night. Once a month, plan a night out with your partner to discuss financial goals and progress.
Create—and regularly update—a written financial plan. It should include a budget, savings goals, anticipated income and unexpected expenses.
Don’t keep money secrets from your spouse. Instead, allot an agreed-upon amount of discretionary money for each of you to spend however you wish—no guilt—every month.
Don’t loan money to friends or family. It can become uncomfortable in a hurry, especially if you’re put in the position of nudging them for payments. If you must loan money, make sure you both agree to it, and put it in writing.
Rethink retirement savings. “The old idea of ‘go to school, work hard, get a job, save money, get out of debt and invest for the long-term in the stock market’ is obsolete,” says Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki in his latest book, Second Chance for Your Money, Your Life and Our World (Plata Publishing).
Here are Kiyosaki’s tips designed to help you think differently about what you do with your money today:
Save less. Maintain an emergency fund of six to nine months’ worth of expenses, but don’t go beyond that. Current interest rates are too low to generate income from savings.
Don’t consider your house an asset. Live in it and love it, but remember: Homes cost money to maintain, and the odds of making money when you sell aren’t a sure thing anymore.
Seek out passive income. Get money flowing in to you by borrowing (or using the money you would have put in savings) to acquire real estate that provides rental income. Or, look for a need in the marketplace and write an e-book or start a web-based business to address the need and create cash flow.