Extension Service: Money, love can be an explosive mix

LITTLE ROCK — Watch most any soap opera, and it won’t be long before tensions between the main characters reach a breaking point over love, money, or a mix of the two.

In real life, the same can be true. However, Laura Connerly, assistant professor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, cited the results of a recent study in the December 2012 Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning that said that learning about money management improves a couple’s relationship quality.

“Money can be a highly charged emotional topic,” she said. “Good communication can diffuse any stress around the topic.”

Connerly urges couples to talk about money, but “remember to listen carefully to your partner. Avoid blaming and verbal attacks.”

Other tactics for dealing with money in a relationship:

• Follow recommended practices.

“Personal finance experts recommend certain practices that help consumers to build wealth,” she said. “Create a spending plan. Manage credit wisely. Build an emergency fund. Save for retirement and other future goals. Following these recommendations helps you to avoid the stress of financial instability.”

• Plan for the future together.

“Think about your hopes and dreams for the future,” Connerly said. “It’s critical to consider the desires of both partners in developing a long-range plan.”

• And create a plan for using your financial resources to work toward making those dreams a reality.

For more about managing money, visit www.uaex.edu or http://www.arfamilies.org/arkansassaves/, or contact a county extension office.