Tips for Dealing with Money In Marriage
Money- is one of those topics that can cause major issues in a relationship. Many couples find themselves frequently arguing about money or avoiding the topic all together. Although money isn’t everything, it is a necessity in most parts of the world. Used properly, it can help solve a host of problems; used improperly it can cause a host of problems. You and your husband or wife need to deal with your money. This is true regardless to your income level. Money issues in a marriage are one of the leading causes of divorce. If the two of you are struggling in this area it is time to sort out your problems before they get any worse. Consider this a high priority. Here are some tips to help you deal with money issues:
1. Plan a time to have a financial discussion. Select a time you both agree to that is free of distractions and low in stress. Try not to select a time when one or both of you will be overly tired. Be sure that throughout this process your write everything down.
2. Look at real numbers. Don’t just talk in general. Look at exactly how much income you have coming in. Exactly what are your expenses? How much do you owe in debt? What are you spending habits? This can be an emotional experience. Now is not the time to point fingers or make comments on what has happened. This is simply a fact finding mission.
3. Once you know the facts, discuss your thoughts and feelings. DON’T POINT FINGERS OR CRITICIZE Each person should clearly state their goals for money. Talk about your feelings of saving and spending. Be completely honest with your spouse. If you love to shop – don’t pretend you don’t. If not having a large savings cushion makes you anxious, don’t pretend it doesn’t
4. Review your account structures. Openly discuss your views and check them according to your core belief system. To whom does the money belong? Whose names are on all accounts? Do you both have equal access to everything? Do you both agree to the setup? How will things be handled in an emergency?
5. Decide on your goals. Think long term and short term. Create giving, spending, savings, and debt reduction or investment plans. How much will you give to help others? How much will you spend on necessities? How much will you spend on fun? How much will you save? How much will you spend on debt reduction or investments?
6. Recognize what you don’t know. Don’t flounder in the dark- get help. Seek out educational materials, workshops, and financial advisors. There is always more to learn.
7. Work out who is responsible for managing the money. Who is responsible for paying the bills? Play to each other’s strengths and availability. Some couples choose to set a specific time to pay the bills together. A cautionary note: unless there is some major reason why this would not be best – both people should know how to pay the bills and access the money. If ever there is a time or reason that the usual person is unavailable or incapacitated – being in the dark about handling the finances is very dangerous.
Remember, this is not a one time discussion. Your needs, income, desires, and expenses will likely change over time. Remember to re-evaluate, check and adjust your plans and habits.
With love and blessings,