• Printer Friendly
  • Send to a Friend
  • Resize Small
  • Resize Medium
  • Resize Large
Home News Relationships & Money: What Your Conflict Strategy Says About Your Finances

Relationships & Money: What Your Conflict Strategy Says About Your Finances

Posted on | Categories: General, Personal Finances


“I think what makes people fascinating is conflict, it’s the drama, it’s the human condition. Nobody wants to watch perfection” (Nicholas Cage). If you’re human, you experience some degree of conflict daily. With the American expenditures averaging $157 per day, the purchase decisions you make every day are impacted by how you manage conflict. Understanding your conflict-resolution style can not only help you better understand and improve your financial obstacles, but help improve your relationships with others when it comes to money.


Accommodation is when you are agreeable to such a high degree, that you actually work against your own self-interest. Essentially, you are either excessively polite or are in conflict with another party who has more knowledge on a topic. This style can be helpful when you are seeking advice from a trusted financial advisor. This can be problematic, if you automatically assume that others know more than you about money, or what to spend your money on. You may be too eager to please and too trusting. This is even more true if you are constantly finding yourself on the losing end.


People who use this style simply do not address conflict with themselves, or others. In this scenario, all are losers.  This is acceptable for a short term strategy, but can be dangerous if it creeps into a long period of time. People who are prone to the avoidance style may also have high amounts of debt.  If you are constantly avoiding the realities of your bank account and spending habits, you may be creating even more conflict for yourself and any financial partners.


This is the ideal way to handle financial conflicts within your relationships. This is a win-win style, where you work to meet each person’s goals. This can be helpful when you are crafting a budget with your spouse, and you both work to make sure your financial goals can be met based on the mutual plan you establish. In times of financial stress, you both communicate and work together to fix the situation for an outcome that is helpful to both parties. This can even be true for friendships. For example, if you have a higher income than your friend, and want to go out to a fancy restaurant, you may collaborate with your friend to find a restaurant that you will both enjoy, and afford. You can still go to a nice restaurant, but your friend can afford it, or maybe you can even treat them to a meal!


This is a style more commonly taken on by the aggressive or ambitious. It is typically a win-lose scenario. A person with this management technique doesn’t care about the other party getting what they want, and makes decisions with a sense of urgency. This may be okay in times of emergency, but can be damaging for the long term. For example, if you constantly spend on big ticket items without consulting your partner, you may have the competing style. You may take advantage of others, and seek to appear financially superior to your friends and family. This can be especially damaging if your bank account doesn’t match your spending habits, causing others to feel inferior, and your partner to feel weighed down by your decisions.


Compromising is the worst way to handle your finances. It creates a situation where nobody wins. Both parties may not speak their full truth, or take the paths of least resistance, so no one truly gets what they want. This might be where neither party really wants to cooperate, so they make sure nobody gets what they want. This can be problematic on financial decisions, such as whether or not to buy a new or a used car. You might decide not to purchase a vehicle at all and really end up paying to fix the clunker you have, spending more on fixing it than you would have to just replace the vehicle.

Consider which one of these styles you lean towards the most and how it can be hurting or helping your financial situations and impacting those you care about. We suggest striving for collaboration to satisfy your relationships and bank account!