The information in this post is provided by our partner Accel Financial Counseling. Accel’s counseling services and educational programs are available free to all Consumers members.
Sometimes debt strains a relationship and couples never recognize it. Breakups, fights, and tension are blamed on more obvious causes instead of the underlying problem of mounting bills and dwindling bank accounts. Here are some tips to help ease the tension and open the lines of communication between couples that are faced with mounting bills.
Don’t place blame
Playing the game of “he spent-she spent” only makes matters worse. Spouses are often firmly divided, one taking the role of over-spender and the other the role of the hoarder.
Admit there is a problem
The first step is to admit that there is a problem. Identify the real problem and focus on solving it.
Deal with concerns in a positive way
Families tend to not sit down and discuss money and financial issues. It is important to communicate your feelings calmly and rationally. Don’t focus on the suffering, instead focus on the reason for the overspending and how to make realistic changes.
Get to the root of poor spending habits
Look for patterns. Identify strengths and weaknesses in your financial planning and management skills. Sometimes the root of the problems lies in the attitudes and practices that your parents instilled in you.
Seek advice from a certified financial counselor
Often times seeking the assistance of a neutral third party who can identify spending habits, outline areas of concern, and areas for improvement can be the best plan for success. A financial counselor can help you establish a clear spending plan and provide continued support to get couples back on track.
As a member of Consumers Credit Union, you can take advantage of the Accel program, a free financial education and counseling program. Accel counselors are available Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. (EST), Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To use this new service, simply call 1-877-33ACCEL (332-2235) or visit them on the web at www.accelservices.org.