The money mistakes couples make

Ruth to the Rescue offers financial tips to you and your partner

DETROIT - When couples fall in love, they rarely think they could be in serious financial trouble one day down the road. A 2009 study found money troubles were the third strongest predictor of divorce, right after drug abuse and infidelity. spotting some common money mistakes could keep you out of debt and out of divorce court.

Jerry and Sue Bailey of Jackson know better. "My wife and I found ourselves way over our heads in debt," Jerry told Ruth to the Rescue.

In fact, the Baileys were $92,000 in credit card debt when they reached out for help. Looking back they realize poor communication was a big part of the problem.

Sue admitted, " I didn't even know how many credit cards we had. I didn't know any of it."

Many Couples Fall Into This Trap

That doesn't surprise Robert Schmansky of Clear Financial Advisors, he said that's a common issue in many relationships.

"Generally, we see with couples is that opposites attract. One spouse may have an interest with managing the finances and the other wants nothing to do with it," he said.

While Sue Bailey says her husband would have told her about the problems if only she'd asked, Schmansky says other couples go even further, hiding bad habits and engaging in mutual denial.

"I might have a spending problem, and, um, in exchange for ignoring my spending issues, I'll ignore your... expensive golf habit." he said.

Here are some good financial habits that might help you and your partner.

1) Force yourself to communicate openly about all of your spending.
2) Do not ignore bad money habits..
3) Set limits on what you can spend, without talking about it first.
4) Create short-term and long term spending goals to make sure you're both on the same page.

Digging Out of Debt

As for the Baileys: their story does have a happy ending. Their bank sent them to Greenpath Debt Solutions. Working with a professional, they sacrificed, took on extra work, and paid off the $92,000.  In fact, you may remember them from a story last year when they were named "Client of the Year" by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

If you'd like to contact Greenpath Debt Solutions, you can go to its website.

Financial advisor Robert Schmansky can be reached at

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