Money management: Five steps to improve it in your marriage

Men may be from Mars, and women from Venus – as the 1992 best-seller put it – but we deal with money matters on planet Earth. When a spender marries a penny pincher and they don't talk about managing money, it can strain a marriage. Of all the common things couples fight about, money disputes are the best harbingers of divorce, according to a study at Utah State University. Make it a goal this year to improve the money management in your home by opening up the channels of communication. Here are five steps to get you started:

1. Appoint one bookkeeper

Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor / File
Howard and Kathy Powell meet with Alan Wardyga, a certified financial planner, in Lincoln, R.I., in this 2000 file photo. The key to money management in a marriage is good two-way communication. But once you have a plan, one person has to implement it.

Both marriage partners need to be involved in the decisionmaking and goal-setting duties around money. But once your money management plan is agreed upon and a strategy set, one person should be in charge of executing it. The best person for this job is the one that is the most detail-oriented. Make that person the bookkeeper.

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