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Holiday overspending could point to bigger marital problems

Spending too much on holiday gifts may not seem like a big deal if you are the one doing it. However, if your spouse spends too much on presents, that could be a much bigger issue.

People often lie about holiday spending

According to a survey conducted by Quicken, 70 percent of couples agree to put a limit on their holiday spending. However, nearly half—47 percent—say they lie to their partners about how much they spent on presents.

An occasional omission of the truth is not going to ruin your marriage. If overspending during the holidays is part of an ongoing issue with ideas about money, that could mean trouble for you and your spouse.

Fighting about money may suggest a relationship won’t last

A study of more than 4,500 couples found arguing about money early in a relationship may be the number one predictor that couples will get divorced. The study found feelings about finances often reflect deeply held values, so disagreements about money often last longer and are harder to resolve. People also tend to see these views as more important.

People struggle to talk about finances

Discussing money is also uncomfortable for many to talk about. Often, people may not have a good idea about how their partner values and spends money, until after they are married.

Money is usually not equal

There is also the issue of income disparity. Women still generally earn less than men. For heterosexual couples, that means one partner will usually make more money than the other. If you and your partner agree to split all the bills, the woman will be left with less money, unless you combine all your finances. 

 

Communication is key

Getting over your aversion to talking about money is the first step toward handling the problem. Financial experts also suggest that keeping your money separate may not be the best idea. This can leave the spouse that makes less money resenting the other partner.

Budgeting can help

Consider opening a joint account to pay your household bills. Then agree to a budget for saving for retirement and emergency expenses, as well as set budget for entertainment expenses.

Some couples may still have trouble agreeing on finances, and if that is true, it might be time to talk to a financial advisor or even a marriage counselor. If your differences seem fundamental and unresolvable, you may consider other options.

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