By David Pitt, AP Personal Finance Writer
On TV it's rare for couples or even roommates to fight about money. Reality isn't always entertaining.
Arguments about finances are often what lead to the end of a relationship. Money matters are always a top reason for marital discontent. That's because when it comes to money, opposites often attract.
It's kind of a universal dynamic in relationships, says Olivia Mellan, a couples therapist and money coach. She's seen all sorts of combinations: money hoarders marrying free spenders, or money worriers hooking up with avoiders who hate to talk or think about it.
Such combinations present challenges when the two individuals become a couple.
If you're in a relationship whether married or not, and your significant other says one of the following, you may be on the road to one of the four biggest money mistakes that couples make.
1. "LET'S TALK ABOUT IT LATER."
Problem: Conversations about money are few and far between.
Solution: Before sharing a home together and combining your bills, discuss a few key financial points. That should include how much debt each person brings into the relationship. Share credit reports and credit scores to learn how each person has managed money in the past.
Talk early on about how shared household expenses will be paid. If one partner earns more, will that person pay a higher percentage of the bills? Will there be one joint account or will each person maintain a separate bank account?
You'll want to talk about major purchases and spending priorities. Are stainless steel appliances a must for you, granite counters?
It's important for couples to have ongoing money discussions in order to stay on track. Some advisers say a weekly discussion around a table where paperwork can be laid out is best, while others recommend at least a monthly sit-down to talk short-term and long-term goals for retirement, education, major purchases, and vacations.