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Married couples at odds over financial management

While some couples can set aside differences and merge their finances rather seamlessly after marriage, that doesn't appear to be the case for most people. A new study shows men and women have drastically different opinions when it comes to managing their money and who takes primary responsibility for it.

Couples disagree about who takes primary financial responsibility
Research from BMO Private Bank shows partners tend to disagree when asked who is responsible for the majority of their household's financial decisions and often undervalue their spouse's contributions or overvalue their own. Sixty-two percent of married men think they are the primary decision-maker when it comes to major purchases, while only 9 percent of married women supported that claim.

The problem can be especially prominent among newlyweds who aren't accustomed to managing money with a partner or combining finances. This makes it essential for recently married couples to have serious discussions about managing their funds and any short- or long-term goals they may have.

Mary Jo Herseth, national head of banking, BMO Private Bank, mentioned making the switch from managing finances solo to doing it with a partner can be a significant process that may spark arguments or disagreements that can cause larger issues if left unresolved. Making a financial plan off the bat and sticking to it can help couples remain on the same page when it comes to spending, long-term savings goals and money management.

Partners could rely more on cash in some instances
Because many couples disagree on the subject of who takes on more responsibility for shared finances, it's not hard to imagine they are at odds on other household money matters. Butting heads over whether to open a shared credit card, maintain separate accounts or even whether a couple would be able to jointly apply for a line of credit may cause tension or not be the best idea.

As such, some couples may choose to forego the stress that comes with applying for and managing joint credit accounts and instead stick with more traditional forms of payment for most purchases. With the right cash and check scanner, business owners can effectively serve customers who may find these transactions preferable to arguing over who takes primary responsibility for a credit card, who pays the bills and how much should be spent per month.

August 16, 2013