How to Manage Money in a Marriage
Managing your money is important and, if you are married, coming up with ways to manage money as a couple is even more important. Financial issues are one of the main reasons that couples fight. If you do not have a way to effectively manage your money that both of you agree with, this can cause significant stress, hurt feelings, and even resentment over time.
Every couple manages their money differently. However, here are some tips that could help you.
Discuss your Priorities and Goals
You and your spouse are two different people, and that means some of your dreams and goals will be different. However, it is important to establish some priorities and work towards some goals as a couple. Think about what matters to the two of you. An effective way to figure this out is to imagine how you would like your future life together to be. Do you have dreams of travelling the world? Do you want to buy a home together? Are you planning to have children? The answers to these questions can help you prioritize how you save and spend so your money goes where it is most important.
It is also important to talk about career goals, such as how long you plan to stay at your current job (if all goes well) and what age you hope to retire (60? 65? 70?). Making these decisions together can help you plan financially and avoid disagreements in the future.
If one (or both) of you have debts or other financial issues (such as a damaged credit rating), it is important to be up front about this situation. You may think that “hiding” your issues will work, but they will eventually come out and that could lead to negative feelings or even an argument when it happens. If you are honest, the two of you can work to resolve the issues together.
You will also want to avoid hiding any major expenses from one another. If either of you get into the habit of buying things and not telling your partner about them, this can be disastrous for your finances and your relationship.
Have a Budget That Works for Both of You
Everyone needs to have a budget, both single people and married couples. And when you are married, it is essential to have a budget that works for both of you. Your financial and life priorities, as well as your income, will help you determine how you spend your money. If you do not have a budget that works for both of you, it can very quickly become easy to overspend. When you are creating your budget, be sure to take both of your financial goals into consideration.
You will also need to make sure that you are saving for emergencies as well as for retirement, so be sure to factor these amounts into your budget. How much you will need to put aside and how regularly will depend on your situation.
It is also important to track spending. But you need to do it in a way that both members of the couple are comfortable with. If one of you wants to use an app to track spending and the other wishes to use pen and paper, you will need to develop a way to compromise to make your system workable for you both. For instance, you might both use your preferred tracking method and then you will each combine your records into a single space (such as a spreadsheet) on a regular basis. This can be more beneficial than trying to “force” one person into using a method they are not comfortable with.
You do not have to evenly split all your financial responsibilities (such as budgeting, paying bills, etc.) if you do not want to, but you should both be involved in the process in some way. Make sure both of you know how much you earn, how much you spend, how much you are saving, etc. Having one partner in the dark can lead to confusion and even resentment.
I am rarely surprised when I speak with new clients and they feel they do not have any idea how much the other earns each month or where their spending is going. That is because couples tend to avoid “the money discussion” until they absolutely must sit down and have it. But it is crucial for spouses to have honest communication with each other – especially about a topic as important as money. Financial matters may not be particularly enjoyable or exciting to talk about, but these discussions are incredibly important. If you are open and honest with one another and if you talk about money regularly, you will be able to spot any potential issues before they become huge problems.
It is also important to have these conversations in a positive manner. Blaming each other or getting angry or accusatory will not solve anything, but if the two of you agree to work together as a team you can create a strong financial life for yourselves.
If your household debt has become a major problem, and the two of you think you could use some assistance getting it under control, please reach out to our licensed professionals today by clicking on the FREE CONSULTATION button, below, or giving us a call. We are here to listen – and to help you both!