Finances in marriage
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When it comes to money and marriage, financial woes are one of the top reasons for divorce. Money management in marriage is often challenging because both spouses come into the relationship with different spending habits and their own ways of managing their finances, and these often differ.
That’s why it’s important to have regular, thorough financial discussions covering household income management.
Money discussions about monthly spending, your current debt load and the progress of financial goals can help you manage money together as a team, no matter your role in generating household income. Working together and more openly, increases the chances of financial management success.
MONEY AND MARRIAGE: SPENDING, SAVING AND INVESTING
Considering one another’s emotions, increasing communication, and being honest about your respective expectations and plans for your financial future begins with the following:
1. Establish your perspectives on money and its importance
Understanding the difference between your and your partner’s upbringing and parents’ views on spending, savings and money management, in general, prevents disagreement.
Talking about money doesn’t come naturally and is often a source of conflict, says Jane Honeck, author of The Problem with Money? It’s Not About the Money!
“Even though most people’s parents talked to them about money, few parents teach their children about the beliefs and values of money management,” she says. “When we come together as a couple, we arrive from different money perspectives. Money communication is difficult and leads to more challenging money issues,” Honeck says.
Determine the tolerance for spending and debt, and ensure your saving priorities are aligned. Experts say that most people marry their financial opposite, meaning agreeing what to spend money on and what is a luxury can be difficult for a couple when one is a saver and the other a spender.
That’s why good communication and transparency are key to establishing shared values on money management.
2. Money and marriage problems to avoid
- Differences in opinion on money matters are a result of diverging financial styles and goals. A neutral third party can help. Make an appointment with a financial advisor or register for a money seminar to combat any conflict.
- Acknowledge that both partners have a role to play in the finances of the household, even if one of you isn’t earning an income. The breadwinner or higher earner and their spouse should act as equals to avoid income creating a power imbalance.
- Financial freedom is based on an accurate understanding of what financial goals matter most to your spouse. Based on this knowledge, you can agree on a monthly spending limit for each of you.
3. Jointly agree on debt
Credit cards, overdrafts, loans and purchases should be an amicable decision because the money spent will affect your respective abilities to contribute to other household expenses.
While you may believe you have acquired the deal of a lifetime, your significant other may have had other plans for the money you have just spent.
4. Decide on financial goals together
While living month-to-month is possible as a single person, in a marriage, making money just to pay bills isn’t good for your financial health.
Set attainable financial goals together and reach them by setting aside an amount or percentage from your monthly salaries for:
- An emergency fund: Financial emergencies or impending expenses
- Short-term savings: Deposits for a car or house or planned holiday
- Long-term savings: Retirement annuity, educational policies or trust funds
5. Save as a couple
Separating your finances may seem counterproductive, but this method of money management often works best for couples for the following reasons:
Joint cheque and savings accounts for household expenses and common goals make paying bills easier and will enable you to see where your money is going, inspiring teamwork and accountability.
Separate accounts are important to keep personal expenses private, maintain some financial autonomy and keep the peace.