Why do families fight over money?

by | Apr 10, 2023 | Personal Finance

Money can be a very sensitive topic in any household due to many contributing factors. It is extremely important to familiarize oneself with these factors to avoid the possibility of an unnecessary feud with family members. There is nothing worse than having conflict with a loved one over an inanimate object when it can be completely avoided in the first place. Some say that money is the root of all problems, but money cannot think, nor act and faces no consequences like humans do. Therefore, we are the root of all problems and solutions as we consciously make decisions each and every day for better or worse and we cannot blame any inanimate object within this world for the sorrow caused to ourselves or loved ones based on the decisions we make. Here are a few common reasons that fights occur between loved ones over money related matters:



We are merely able to communicate for one sole purpose and that is to UNDERSTAND. Thus, language was created. Now, if there is a lack of communication concerning finances, there is also a lack of understanding which in return can result in disagreements and lead to animosity. A loved one can very quickly feel excluded or betrayed if they are not informed of something related to finances. The best way is to communicate transparently with loved ones and involve them with subjects concerning money such as holiday planning, monthly and yearly budgeting, savings plans, etc. Also take note of how you communicate to a loved one as tone of voice, facial expressions and words used, all have a contributing factor to the desired outcome of the conversation with a loved one.



Sometimes it can be very difficult to control spending habits. We and loved ones can sit with this problem that is mostly due to a lack of discipline or can have deeper sociological or psychological roots that is more difficult to undo. It is best to encourage yourself or the loved one to change for the better through positive reinforcement or utilizing other psychological tricks to achieve the eradication of this issue. There can also be another common issue under the topic of financial “control” issues. Certain people feel that if they earn more than their significant other or loved ones in general that they are entitled to full control over finances and feel a sense of hierarchy that can very quickly cause fights between loved ones or can be used to manipulate one another. This is a horrible issue that needs to be addressed and neutralized in its infancy before it becomes too difficult to stop.



Perception is one of the main causes of differences in the human thought process. One family member might want to save their money for long term goals while the other is more focused on spending on immediate needs. These differences can cause conflict amongst loved ones mostly due to a lack of understanding each other’s perception on money related matters and being ignorant of compromises. Both parties should come to a mutual agreement, hopefully one that incorporates a solution that satisfies all parties.



According to recent Macrotrends statistics, approximately 61.60 percent of our South African population is living in poverty. As humans we are easily affected by circumstances that sometimes may not be necessarily beneficial for us. This often leads to lashing out at loved ones as when we cannot mentally resolve our issues, we feel frustrated and helpless. Some people justify these reactions towards others based on how they feel but don’t realize the harm they cause by their actions towards others. Financial strain is one of the worst difficulties to face as it affects our livelihood. In these situations, it is best to support one another instead of trying to resolve things individually. Be understanding towards one another as each person processes their feelings differently. Also be mindful before reacting, especially in times when financial strain is a factor.



The sense of inequality can quickly stir up a fight amongst loved ones and has been the cause of a lot of sadness and anger throughout history till this present day. This can be found in family run businesses, amongst beneficiaries of wills, the amount from a salary that one gets to spend compared to the other when living together, etc. Equality plays a major role in maintaining a healthy financial relationship with loved ones; thus, it is crucial to exercise equality.


Now that you are familiar with a couple of the reasons that family members fight over money, try to be the beacon of light amongst your family members attempting to maintain the peace by identifying these problems as they take place and dealing with them accordingly. Just remember, life is unpredictable whereas your choices are not. So, take control of your decisions and resolve or avoid conflict with family members over anything related to money. If you ever feel alone when facing financial strain and don’t know the way out, we at National Debt Advisors are always here to help.

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