Fixing Money Fights

fighting money & chores Jun 06, 2017

Do you and your partner ever fight about money?

Because it’s such a common issue today I’m going to talk about what’s behind fights over money and HOW to resolve them.

Over 70% of divorces are the result of conflicts over money.

If you or your partner is an entrepreneur then it’s even more likely, especially if the business is not consistently profitable.

The biggest problem is that people get positional and seeing their parter as “wrong”, sometimes even as “the enemy”!

When you’re together you HAVE to act like partners and have position of “we”, NOT “me”. If you’re married then you’re legally and financially bound to each other which means that you ARE partners whether or not you feel that way.

To collaborate you have to understand WHERE your partner is coming from.

Their experience of money. Their rationale. Their triggers.

Address THAT to resolve the root problem; attacking the symptoms will only lead to the core problem festering and undermining your relationship in any number of ways, over and over and over again.

Root causes of money issues

It all goes back to our psychology, our needs, any traumas, as well as our modeling growing up.

Psychologically there are Six Human Needs which drive our behavior: Significance, Security, Love, Excitement, Growth and Contribution.


When significance is a primary need you’re driven to make a lot of money AND spend a lot of money.

It’s all about “show”; people have know how successful your are and how much money you have.


The person who is driven by security spends very little, or at least they spend much, much less than they’re making.

They might make a lot of money or just a little bit; the point is that they spend very little.

This is very common when the person comes from a family or even culture where having enough money was a constant challenge.


The person driven by love will spend money to create loving experiences for themselves and the people they care about.

This will typically show up as gift-giving and “special things” like romantic dates and getaways.


The need for excitement will drive someone to take risks with money such as gambling, job-hopping and constantly changing careers.

Entrepreneurs typically have excitement as a top need and, after building a successful business, often take chances with it or leave to try and build another company from scratch.


The person driven by growth will freely spend money on education (school, classes, seminars, books), even if the training doesn’t lead to anything quantitative such as a raise or new career.


The person driven by contribution as a top need will direct unusually large amounts of money towards charities as well as family and friends who are in need.

Which need did you recognize in yourself? Which need did you recognize in your partner?

You and partner probably have different hierarchy of needs. Even if you both share the same hierarchy you’ll probably still have fights about money (especially if you’re both driven by excitement). Naturally, the further apart your hierarchies the more likely you’ll be in conflict (for example, if one of you is driven by significance and they other contribution, or one by security and the other by excitement).

The Fix

In order to really, truly fix your money fights you must do three things:

  1. Understand your own drives and needs.

  2. Understand partner’s drives and needs.

  3. Create and budget that supports BOTH of you and stick to it.

Why budgets fail

Budgets fail for any one of three reasons:

  1. Not realistic That is, the budget is too hard to adhere to or assumes changes that aren’t possible in the expected timeframe. For example, you’re not likely to immediately save 3x as much as you are currently saving. Likewise, slashing large expenses like housing or cars is something that you probably can’t do immediately even if they are things which you can accomplish in a year or two.

  2. Not mutually agreed to In order for the budget (which is shared) to succeed it has to be something which you both agree on and which allows room for both of you to satisfy your needs.

  3. Arbitrary A budget that works has got to be based on real, actual amounts. That is, how much money is actually coming in, how much money is actually going out, and where that money is going to. Without having clear answers to each of those any budget will be based on assumptions or feelings (which, more often that not, turn out to be inaccurate).

In summary, you’ve got to both understand your personal needs and drives as well as each other’s, understand how much money is coming in, where it’s going out to, and create a realistic budget you both agree to that satisifies both of your needs.

When you work as a team you can come together and move past conflicts, challenges and obstacles.

Once you can work as a team and get past money issues you can enjoy a relationship that’s stable, happy and fulfilling.


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