The financial status of married couples is all too often the reason for divorce. In many cases, couples just do not properly communicate about their financial situation and only one half of the couple ends up being financially responsible for the money in the household. This leads to many problems, many of which become seemingly insurmountable, leading to the aforementioned divorce.
There are many things couples can do to prevent this scenario. Here are some tips to mull over about marriage and money.
1. Communication is Essential
If you are not talking collectively about money, chances are good that one half of the couple will overspend. Without setting limits that both parties are aware of and not having a budget, couples can easily get overwhelmed with debt, late payments, and overall money mismanagement. Set a time each week to discuss income, bills, savings plans whatever financial issues might be in need of analysis. Balance the checkbook and pay the bills together so both parties are fully aware of where they stand.
2. Find Common Ground
For many couples, there may be a situation where one is a spender and the other is a saver. Without the proper communication, a couple’s financial goals are a moot point. Find common ground and make priorities for your financial direction. Discuss what is most important saving for college, buying a home, establishing an emergency fund. Whatever financial goals you have, write them down and review them often. Having a common goal to work towards can and will often strengthen the relationship you already have.
3. Make Important Banking Decisions
Once married, many couples immediately dissolve their separate accounts and combine all of the money into a joint account. It may not always be the best avenue to travel. In sticking with a budget, couples should feel good about having a sense of financial independence. Just because you each have a separate bank account as well as a joint account, does not mean that as a couple you lack trust. It may lessen the burden to have your own money to spend as you see fit, provided a budget and goals have been set.
4. Have a Plan for the Golden Years
Looking forward to the future with your beloved, it is wise to establish a plan for retirement early in life. It gives you both the opportunity to save up more for a longer period of time. A good rule of thumb is to put away 10% of your income into an emergency fund. Once you have built up a good bulk of money, plan to invest it into a retirement account and keep saving. Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck, you can likely find a something to sacrifice to save that 10%. Consider it a big investment into your future golden years together and have fun planning for those days to come.
5. Work Together
In many cases only one half of the couple will come into the marriage with financial baggage. If you are willing to make the commitment to each other for richer or poorer, you better be willing to mean it. Debt needs to be handled by both parties. This is important for your emotional well-being as a couple but also because the debt of your partner, if not handled correctly, can carry over to your own credit score and affect you negatively.
6. Live A Life Without Secrets
Financial secrets can be devastating to a marriage. If you or your partner go out and make a large purchase or hide any past debts, it is likely the trust factor will be broken, leaving your relationship in the dust. When you marry, you make a commitment that is meant to last a lifetime. Hiding information, no matter how embarrassing it may be, can cost you a lot more than money. It will likely cost you your marriage. Be open and upfront when it comes to finances or you will find yourself very single and very much in debt.