Couples Fighting about Money. Is It Your Fault?

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

If you fight about money, how do you know who is to blame? And how do you know who needs to get their act together?

Earlier this week, I asked your advice for a couple that had different views on frugality and couldn’t stop fighting about money. Jim was making Deb’s life unbearable because of his tightwad ways, and I asked what you thought Deb should do about it. You provided fantastic ideas. A few folks suggested that Deb get a job. Others suggested therapy for Jim. Still others suggested they use a budget to solve their problems.

All good ideas.

But after I read your replies, I stopped to think. Certain cases are pretty obvious (Jim and Deb’s is one example). But it’s not always so clear-cut. When it comes to this issue, who’s to say when one person’s behavior is over the edge? If you live with this dilemma, how do you know it’s your partner’s fault for being too frugal? Maybe it’s your fault for not being frugal enough?

Or maybe it’s nobody’s fault. Maybe you just have different values. If so, can the relationship survive? So this is my question to you:

Is there an objective way to know when your partner’s frugality is just plain irrational?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.




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