What Are We Even Fighting About?

Have you ever walked away from a fight with your spouse or significant other?  You’re absolutely fuming and your head is spinning. Finally, you calm down and realize you have no idea what you were actually fighting about? The fact is that couples fight an average of 4 times a month and oftentimes, they’re fighting about money and they don’t even know it!

One of the top mistakes a couple can make when it comes to love and money is to fight over “stuff” instead of the real money problem. Let me give you an example from my personal life to explain better.

The Fight:

The biggest fight I ever had with my wife over money started with nothing more than a new pair of shoes.  She came home, showed me the new black shoes she bought on sale—and I proceeded to lose it. 

“New shoes?  How could you need new shoes?” I exclaimed. I then proceeded to pull out all of her black shoes and count them, one-by-one. 

My wife in turn dashed over to my “tech toy drawer” and pulled out three old cells phones, three old Palm Pilots, and various other gadgets that were collecting dust.

“Who needs all this stuff?” she argued. “You are ridiculous, wasting all of our money on the latest, greatest gadget.”

Before I knew it, our fight was over items in the house, our purchases, and “stuff” that had nothing to do with the real problem….we were not saving enough money. We both knew it,  but we continued to spend our money on completely unnecessary purchases, when we could have been saving more for our future.

The Solution:

Fortunately, I was able to pull back from this argument and ask my wife if we could sit down and calmly discuss my real money concern with her.

I explained to her how important it is that we “pay ourselves first”—and we agreed to a goal together. Our goal was large (to pay ourselves first 20% of our gross income),  but we agreed that if we could achieve that goal we wouldn’t fight about the little ways we were spending money.

The result of our discussion was that we put our savings and finances on auto pilot—having our paychecks automatically deposited first into our savings account from our 401k plans, then into our emergency account and our dream account. We also set it up so all of our monthly bills were paid automatically. After this—the fights stopped!  Most importantly we built real wealth, together as a team.Talking about your goals and automating your finances can have a life changing effect on your relationship and on your financial security. Remember, a couple who plan their finances together stay together.

Live Rich,
David Bach

P.S. Make sure to share you thoughts and comments below, I love to hear your feedback and stories!


7 thoughts on “What Are We Even Fighting About?

  1. I can’t agree more. In the last 10 years, every fight we have had started or ended with talking about money. I really do believe that money is root of all evil if you don’t have a plan that works.

  2. Hi David,

    I can relate to this so much that it made me cry, haha.

    My husband and I have been arguing a lot lately because of my frustration of not being able to move out of our small condo that we overpaid for and buy my “dream” home (by dream home, I mean something with more than 2 beds and 1 bath!). Every time my husband doesn’t pack a lunch to work, it makes me cringe. Whenever I can’t buy my almost 2 year old a new toy because it’s “not in the budget”, I get more agitated. I am currently unemployed, so it’s extremely difficult to save money.

    Having said that, I am willing to try, somehow. I look forward to using your site and resources to help me try to achieve my dream of one day moving into a home that I can raise my family in. Thank you for the help!

  3. I find it funny how people often say “money is the root of all evil”, when they tend to leave the first part of the phrase out, “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil” Money is not evil, its a tool in our society that creates options if managed properly. If your heart is in the right place money is a great thing!

  4. This story really resonates with me. I refer to my wife as the Imelda Marcos of the free world…

    At the same time I feel that a first growth Bordeaux is a worth while investment. My wife counters with “How can you consider something as an investment when the end result is in the toilet?

    She also reminds me that it is not easy to maintain a trophy wife. I am still trying to figure out which competition did I win?

    It is our willingness to laugh at each other and ourselves that usually saves the day.
    BLOG ON!!!

  5. I only remember my parents disagreeing about 2 things while I was growing up – money and my Dad’s refusal to take his diabetes seriously. My Dad was notorious for being thrifty (my brothers and I had to take new sneakers outside and scuff them up so my Dad wouldn’t notice they were new, as though he thought the shoes just grew along with our feet), but he had no trouble dropping $1K on a new steer. Unfortunately, after he died, it seems that years of never buying what she wanted made my mother a real spendthrift and after she became disabled and couldn’t work anymore, she ended up living with me until her death three years ago. I’m still learning how to plan my spending carefully after years of just buying what I wanted.

  6. I’ve read your book and have implemented many of your techniques but we still fight because I have done a better job cleaning up my part of the debt. We are an old couple (65) and can still hurt each other when it comes to money. We look forward to your Sunday evening talk via computer!