Opening a ‘mad money’ account can help ease financial stress for couples

Personal finance

Money can be one of the biggest stressors in a couple’s life. But there are certain tricks that can help ease the pressure.

One of those is what’s called a “mad money” account, a favorite of certified financial planner Lazetta Rainey Braxton.

The idea is that each person puts aside a set amount every month to spend on whatever he or she wants.

“No shame, no fault, fear, obligation or guilt,” said Braxton, founder of Financial Fountains in Baltimore and a member of the CNBC Advisor Council.

“If you want to accrue that money to have $1,000 bag, that is up to you,” she added. “Or a nice set of golf clubs.”

It’s not good to live individually in the household when it comes to money. It’s always better to work as a team.

Rianka Dorsainvil

president of Your Greatest Contribution

The idea is to take pressure about splurge spending off the table, since the couple’s so-called mad money is already in the budget.

“That helps a lot, diffuses kind of the stress and guilt,” Braxton said. “You feel like you have some ownership within the relationship.”

But it’s not just spending habits that can wreak havoc on a relationship. Debt is also a big problem.

It’s an important issue to address since money plays a big role in relationships, according to a 2018 survey by Fidelity. It has an even bigger impact on those couples who brought debt into the relationship, the survey found.

Downtown Seattle.

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Of couples who were concerned about debt, 46% said money was their biggest relationship challenge and 67% said they argued about money. The figures were lower for couples unconcerned with debt — 16% said money was their biggest relationship challenge and 41% argued about finances.

To tackle any money problem, it’s important to discuss it.

However, finances also aren’t really talked about enough — and that can be detrimental to the health of your relationship

“Money is definitely taboo,” said Rianka Dorsainvil, founder and president of financial planning firm Your Greatest Contribution.

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She said she meets with clients to educate them about some of the language to use with money. She also empowers them to talk to each other about their ideas and questions around finances.

“It’s not good to live individually in the household when it comes to money,” said Dorsainvil, a CFP and also a member of the CNBC Advisor Council. “It’s always better to work as a team.”

For her part, Braxton added that the conversation should also be intimate because each person brings different ideas about money to the table from their own family experiences.

“If you can go to that level of intimacy with your money, imagine what your relationship can really be like,” she said.

Check out Don’t Fall For These 5 Myths About Money via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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