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6 Ways to Keep Money from Wrecking Relationships

A new report finds that 31% of Americans consider financial infidelity to be worse than cheating romantically, yet an estimated 15 million admit to concealing a bank account or credit card from their partners. I have two-time New York Times bestselling author and financial security expert Pamela Yellen with:

Pamela has spent years researching, studying, and conducting surveys on how money affects relationships.

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Here are her six tips to increase intimacy around money and finances.

1. Recognize that money is an emotional issue: Choose a time when you’re both relaxed and not rushed. Begin the conversation with something like “I know that our finances can have a great impact on the health of our relationship. I’d like to start talking about money so that we understand each other and can get on the same page.”

2. Talk, talk, and talk some more about your finances together. Set goals together, and track your progress using steps 3-6.

3. Agree on how to divide your money. The time to have this heart-to-heart conversation is now, rather than in a divorce attorney’s office later. Common topics to cover include individual discretionary spending, household expenses, retirement savings, and extended family responsibilities.

4. Avoid taking on too much debt. Instead of constantly talking about the burden of your debt, talk to each other about your financial goals — where you’d really like to be, and how you’ll get there. Rather than letting debt issues drive you apart, facing your debt as a team can actually strengthen your relationship.

5. No matter how tempting it may be, do not engage in financial infidelity! If you haven’t been fully honest regarding finances, now is the time to clean it up. Begin the conversation with something like, “I know that neither of us is perfect when it comes to money. Our relationship is important to me, so I want to make sure we have a foundation of honesty about our finances.” No matter what comes up, stay calm, and avoid judgment. Keep breathing! And focus on positive solutions going forward.

6. Understand and acknowledge your different spending habits. Seek to understand rather than correct each other. If something in your partner’s attitude bothers you, tell him how you feel and why. See if you can find compromise, but don’t try to ‘fix’ your partner.

“To keep your relationships healthy, it’s critical to discuss these differences and come up with compromises that work for both of you,” Pamela says.

Pamela Yellen is a financial investigator and the author of two New York Times best-selling books, including her latest, “THE BANK ON YOURSELF REVOLUTION: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future.” Pamela investigated more than 450 financial strategies seeking an alternative to the risk and volatility of stocks and other investments, which led her to a time-tested, predictable method of growing wealth now used by more than 500,000 Americans.