Want a Successful Marriage? Discuss Money Often
It’s no secret that a successful marriage takes work.
And when you add job insecurity, economic downturns, and other money challenges to the mix, they can certainly test the strength of your union. Even in the best of times, putting together a budget can lead to arguments and harsh words. According to a Love and Money survey, 80% of couples have financial disagreements monthly.
If you want your marriage to be successful, your and your partner’s financial expectations must be aligned. That means conversations about financial responsibilities and frequent check-ins must become part of your routine. Here’s how to get aligned on money to ensure you and your partner keep your happy relationship going strong.
Why Both Partners Must Share Financial Responsibilities
Sharing financial responsibilities comes with marriage territory. These responsibilities include more than just paying bills – they involve saving money, setting financial goals, and creating and following budgets. It’s also important to discuss how both of your incomes factor into those responsibilities, especially when one partner earns more than the other.
If one person is managing everything on their own, imbalances or resentment may form in your relationship, which is why it’s important to come to an agreement on how you will handle finances as a couple. The key thing to remember is that you and your partner are a team.
How to Share Responsibilities
Set Financial Priorities Together
As financial partners, you and your spouse must work toward the same goals. Together, you should have a clear picture of what you want your lives to look like. Then, set short-term, intermediate, and long-term financial goals.
For example, let’s say you plan to buy a house in the next five years. You may want to consider opening a joint savings account – ideally one with a high annual percentage yield and interest compounded daily. Establish a set amount each person will contribute to the account every month and have a discussion if that number needs to be adjusted at some point. Working together toward shared goals will bring you closer as a couple and set you both up for success financially.
Meet Regularly for Updates
Regular check-ins will validate your efforts and limit opportunities for slip-ups. Unplanned circumstances should be brought to the discussion table right away to prevent small issues from becoming large, stressful problems.
Check-ins should include status updates and changes, including unexpected splurges, impulse buys, and goal adjustments. Consider using a tool that allows you to set a budget and see your spending habits in action – so you can know exactly how to adjust when needed.
Budgets are the roadmaps to financial health, but they must fit each couple’s financial situation. If one person prefers taking the lead on the budget, the other must be included in decisions. This will promote trust in the relationship. As finances change, budgets must also be adjusted. Regular check-ins with each other will make you both feel more secure.
Be Honest With Finances
Never be dishonest about costs and debts. Each partner should have a slush fund for expenses – but not one that is hidden. You can keep your finances partially separated, but don’t hide purchases or spending behavior. “Financial infidelity,” as it’s called, can hurt your marriage.
A recent study found that one in three couples deals with financial infidelity. When hidden financial expenses or accounts come to light (as they almost always do), the discovery usually causes more damage to a relationship than the issue itself. Financial infidelity erodes trust and can lead to resentment, anger, and more deceit. To prevent this, be open and honest about your income and spending behavior.
Make a Plan for Paying Down Debt
Most marriages start out in debt – in fact, 86% of them do. Work together as a team to devise a monthly plan to pay it off. Taking on another person’s debt is a challenge – but now you’re a team, which means you can tackle it together. It’s easy to fall into the “blame trap” here, but following a few tips can help you both avoid it:
- Never hold your partner’s debt over their head. If you brought debt into the marriage, don’t hold it over your own head.
- Don’t refer to it as “your” debt or “their” debt. It now belongs to you both.
- Discuss spending habits. Understanding your partner’s money tendencies promotes inclusion.
- Come up with a plan and stick to it. Motivate each other – don’t blame; instead, stay focused on your goal of finally living debt-free.
Don’t Let Money Ruin Your Marriage
Regular discussions about money, sharing financial responsibilities, creating budgets, and setting goals together will strengthen your marriage and prevent money from interfering with your relationship. When communication lines are open and you work together as a team, conflict and instability will have no hold on your marriage.
Want a Successful Marriage? Discuss Money Often
This blog post was published by Axos Bank on August 24, 2022, and last updated on August 24, 2022.