How to Resolve Money-Related Arguments

Arguments over money are common in families. Can they be avoided?
How to Resolve Money-Related Arguments
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Written by Yamila Papa

Last update: 21 December, 2022

“In this house, we don’t talk about money ”, “We can’t start a conversation about business without arguing”, “Sunday lunch turns into a battlefield when someone starts talking about grandmother’s inheritance”, “We split up because we had so many arguments about spending”. These kinds of money-related arguments are extremely frequent, more so than you may even realize.

Money-related arguments occur in a large percentage of families all over the world. This is quite the opposite of what’s supposed to happen in the kinds of relationships where, supposedly, ‘blood is thicker than water’.  Nevertheless, it’s why specialists advise avoiding any type of financial transaction between members of the same family. For example, loans, business start-ups, etc.

On the other hand, many consider this to be negative advice and they much prefer to start a business with a family member than with a stranger. However, to what extent is this beneficial?

A woman giving money to a man.

Three major sources of family conflict where money is to blame

Marital Disputes

These might involve couples where one earns more than the other. Or, one partner spends money on unimportant things and doesn’t save. There may be excessive purchases with a credit card or they don’t agree on what to invest their money in.  As a matter of fact, thousands of marriages end in divorce because of money issues, since the situation often becomes untenable.

Failed companies

Having set up a business with a relative which is failing or has failed, problems may begin. Perhaps one partner placed too many expectations on the other. Unfortunately, in these cases, they’re no longer able to get together for occasions like Christmas or birthdays because the subject will inevitably be brought up. That’s if they haven’t already had a massive fallout and don’t ever even speak anymore.

Bad business between family members

Selling a car to a cousin, lending money to an aunt, buying a house from a nephew, etc. They can all be good propositions if both parties have honorable intentions, but it isn’t always the case. Indeed, there are times when one of the two seeks to take advantage. This is regardless of the fact that it’s their relative they’re dealing with, and a person that they’ll have to see on a regular basis.

Two people arguing, depicting money-related arguments.

There are thousands of examples of successful family businesses. Therefore, it’s certainly possible to have a harmonious ‘economic’ coexistence between members of the same clan. Money can be a strength, a tool, a way to advance or improve, consolidate wealth, change jobs, offer a new opportunity to those who don’t have a job, etc. It should never be, under any circumstances, something that causes hurt, fights, arguments, and break-ups.

Before undertaking any type of financial operation, you should check if your family ties are as strong as you think. You must all agree in terms of morality and values. Undertaking a financial transaction goes way beyond simply meeting once a week to eat pasta together. It means accepting others, helping when they need it, and being there for them when they’re happy or sad. As a matter of fact, your commitments in this regard aren’t unlike the promises you make in your wedding vows.

You must take an interest in what happens to whoever it is you’re undertaking the transaction with, and respect their choices and their way of life. Furthermore, you should always be available when they need any help and to participate in family celebrations and gatherings. This will ensure that you have a truly unbreakable bond, despite the fact that there’s money involved.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.