They say it’s the little things that cause the most marital strife – people leaving the toilet seat up, squeezing the toothpaste in the middle, leaving their dirty laundry laying on the floor yet within the grand scheme of things, most marriages survive these small issues. Do you want to know the one big issue that has the greatest effect on your marriage? Money.
Money is one of the top reasons why modern marriages end in divorce and it isn’t just about not having enough. With a financially stable couple, the issue with money can be just as troublesome. Sometimes out of control spending causes problems. Paying off or refinancing a mortgage (with a company like Credible) may not be a priority, keeping secrets about what is spent and where, or spending in ways that one spouse considers extravagant can also raise relationship stress levels until they spiral out of control.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some of the easiest – and best – ways – to stop money problems getting between you and your loved one.
Talk to Each Other Openly and Honestly!
Not only is having open and honest communication the biggest and most important thing for a marriage to have, but it is also the biggest and most important aspect to running your finances together. A lack of communication when it comes to money, no matter your financial situation, is often behind a lot of problems between couples. It will also always lead to problems if it is not discussed openly and honestly. This open communication is crucial to creating boundaries, goals, and everything else that you will need to create a happy environment for your marriage to continue to grow in a successful way.
Every person, every couple and every marriage is unique so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to money troubles. There’s no rule book for deciding who is going to be responsible for financial management but whatever way you choose to work this out you should always make sure you keep the lines of communication open when it comes to your finances. Often one person takes responsibility for financial management but whoever that is, whoever pays the bills and regardless of who earns the most you should recognize that when it comes to finance you must work as a team and this means having open, honest conversations about money.
It is well worth sitting down each month or every quarter to go over where the money is going, what it is being spent on and how much income is arriving each month. Make sure you are both fully aware of what bills you have and the expenses that need to be paid and decide on how much disposable income you will each have to spend how you choose. Just sitting down and going through this will help take some of the stress out of problems with money that can arise in a marriage.
Agree to a Budget & Create an Emergency Fund
To those unfamiliar with the concept of creating a budget, this can seem daunting, however, this is a must to ensure that you don’t run into financial problems. There are many wonderful tools that you can use to help make this an easy task with today’s great fintech! If you own a smartphone there are a number of apps you can use including Personal Capital, Mint, and others that will help to make things super easy for you. All you need to do is download one, and sync it with your bank account and then they will do all the math for you. You can then stay on top of all your finances through it as well, and it will help to make it easy for both of you to be on the same page.
It is also very important that you create an emergency fund as well. Even with great tools available like an emergency loan from Tax Refund Loans, we highly recommend that you create an emergency fund increase something arises where you will need to use it. This will save a huge headache and a possible huge problem. It is a move that can be a possible marriage savior, so creating one for your marriage is a must.
Set Goals Together
Once you have an idea of what your expenses are you can then start to set some goals. If you are both on the same page because you open and honest dialog between each other, then when it comes to money it makes things a lot easier! This is a great way of taking any potential heat out of tricky financial situations, while also giving both of you things to achieve together!
Many money problems within a marriage happen when the couple is not working towards the same set of financial goals and targets. It is vital to get an idea of where you see yourselves financially in the next few years and think about ways of working together to get there.
If you have recently married this is something you should discuss straight away, but even if you have been married a long time it is never too late to start developing good financial habits and better ways of communicating about money.
Short term and long term goals provide a great foundation for financial discussions and decision making and keep in mind that agreeing on goals, rather than one spouse imposing them on the other, means that both partners are motivated to achieve them.
What about joint bank accounts?
Although many couples want to keep their finances separate, there are still around 75% of couples that have at least one shared account. So are these joint accounts a good idea?
The benefit of separate bank accounts is that each partner stays financially independent and does not feel they have to justify what they spend and where. However, there are also some drawbacks that should be considered.
If each person has a separate account it can be difficult to keep track of income and outgoings, potentially leading to some nasty surprises turning up at inopportune moments. Problems could become significant if they are allowed to build up over several months. This is particularly the case where there is a lack of communication about money.
If you have a joint account it can be easier to spot potential problems because two sets of eyes are better than one. If you have already set goals, or even if you haven’t, there is more accountability for what you spend than you have if your finances are separated.
Every marriage is different so what works well can be different for each couple. Some couples keep their finances completely independent of each other, some have one joint account, others keep their personal account and have a joint account for household expenses. Whatever you choose, communication remains the key to make sure that money doesn’t start to drive a wedge between you and undermine your marriage.
Money Can Make Life Difficult
Talking about money is something that many people find awkward and no matter what your opinion of money is, it will become a significant part of your marriage. How you handle the questions or at least be able to discuss the questions will be a major part to the foundation of your marriage.
Don’t let money negatively impact your marriage – act now to take control of your money and make it work for you. Being able to share your feelings openly and honestly about this subject will make sure that everything is out on the table initially so that you don’t run into a problem in the future that has grown into something that you can’t control. Getting to grips with financial matters means more harmony, less heartbreak and can bring huge benefits across all areas of married life.