When a couple walks down the aisle, they promise to be there for each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do them part.
Unfortunately, when it comes to money, couples might reconsider their vows. According to a 2018 survey by Ramsey Solutions, money is next to infidelity in the common causes of divorce. Issues like high levels of debt, unexpected purchases, and lack of communication could push a couple to the brink of separation.
When you find you and your spouse in the same predicament, know that’s it’s not too late. By understanding the common issues and learning solid financial planning, you can be debt-free and keep your vows.
1. Talk About Your Financial Situation
Marriage experts recommend that couples talk about their financial situation before tying the knot. Take the time to understand your partner’s spending and saving habits. There’s bound to be tension if one of you saves every penny while another spends without thought.
Once you’ve discussed your financial habits, identify your priorities. Are you planning to buy a home or travel outside the country for your honeymoon? When are you planning to have children? Being on the same page with your financial goals helps you accomplish them without sparking tension.
2. Don’t Leave Each Other in the Dark
Just like the sexual kind, financial infidelity can have destructive consequences on a marriage. By disclosing debt and hiding bank accounts, you’re jeopardizing the trust of your spouse.
Be transparent with your finances, even if it means disclosing a considerable amount of debt you’ve accumulated. Your spouse might feel disappointed that you hid it, but work with them to figure out how to pay off that debt without affecting the rest of your finances.
3. Don’t Overextend Your Budget
Combining incomes with your spouse might make you feel you can spend money on bigger things. However, a series of poor purchasing decisions can put you into debt, regardless of your combined source of income.
For example, you and your spouse might decide to buy too much house. Although you managed to buy a home that you want, you might end up spending most of your monthly income on maintenance and upkeep. Without the flexibility to spend on leisure, the financial tension could strain your marriage.
4. Learn to Compromise
Sometimes, you and your spouse won’t be on the same page when it comes to finances. In this case, it might make sense to make compromises.
For example, you don’t want to spend money to eat out every time your spouse wants. Instead of flatly telling them to stop spending, maybe you can agree on eating out on the weekend for a specified budget.
5. Leave Room for Personal Finances
Getting married doesn’t mean you have to combine all your assets. It might make sense to keep a personal account and a joint bank account.
By having a separate account, you minimize conflicts that come with overspending on a joint account. Doing so also gives you the flexibility to enjoy personal purchases that your spouse might not enjoy.
We pledge to our spouses that they’ll stick together for better or worse. However, poor financial management might have you rethink those vows. To maintain your marriage, make sure to be honest and open with your spouse about money management.