Thursday, April 01, 2010

Is Your Spouse Overspending?

Managing your own finances can be hard enough, without having to worry about whether your spouse or partner is overspending. Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN put together a helpful article with advice on what to do if you are married to a “financial basket case”. You can find a segment of her article below.

Can this financial marriage be saved?

Few couples are on exactly the same page when it comes to money, as I wrote in "9 ways to rein in a spendthrift spouse." Smoothing out the conflicts takes work but usually can be done with communication, compassion and commitment.

Some partners are so far over the edge, however, that their destructive habits can sabotage the family finances.

How can you tell whether your partner just needs a little persuading or is a total financial basket case? You're facing an uphill battle if:

There's an underlying addiction. If your partner has problems with alcohol, drugs or gambling, he or she literally can't think straight. Financial progress takes a back seat to feeding the addiction. Recovery is always possible, of course, but you'd be smart to get counseling (even if your partner won't go) and attend a support group such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon or Gam-Anon.

There's a mental disorder. Overspending can be a symptom of a number of mental illnesses, including depression, bipolar disorder and attention-deficit disorder, as I wrote in "How the brain busts the budget." Again, progress is possible, but the underlying disorder must first be properly diagnosed and treated.

There's no acknowledgment of the problem. This may be the hardest nut to crack. Your partner either doesn't see what you're worried about or blames the problem on you. Counseling and sessions with a financial planner may help, but if your partner takes no responsibility and instead blames others, prospects for improvement may be dim.

Continue reading at MSN…

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