How to Manage Money in a Marriage
Managing your money is important and, if you’re 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 don’t 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 are your spouse are different people, and that means that some of your dreams and goals will be different. However, it’s important to establish some priorities and goals that you can work on as a couple. Think about what matters to the two of you. A good way to figure this out is to imagine your future.
Do you have dreams of travelling the world? Do you want to buy a home together? Are you planning on having children? The answers to these questions can help you prioritize how you save and spend so your money goes where it’s most important.
It’s 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. 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 bad credit score), it’s 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’re honest, the two of you can work to resolve the issues together.
You’ll 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 and, when you’re married, you need 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 don’t have a budget that works for both of you, it can very quickly become easy to overspend. When you’re creating your budget, be sure to take both of your financial goals into consideration.
You’ll also need to make sure that you’re saving for emergencies as well as for retirement, so be sure to factor these savings into your budget. How much you will need to save will depend on your life situation.
It’s 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 a pen and paper, you’ll need to come up with a way to make this arrangement work. For instance, maybe you’ll both use your preferred tracking method and then you’ll 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” once person into using a method they’re not comfortable with.
You don’t have to evenly split all your financial responsibilities (such as budgeting, paying bills, etc.) if you don’t 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’re saving, etc. Having one partner in the dark can lead to confusion and even resentment.
Above all, it’s crucial that you communicate with your spouse. Financial matters may not be particularly enjoyable or exciting to talk about, but these discussions are important. If you’re open and honest with one another and if you talk about money regularly, you’ll be able to spot any potential issues before they become bigger problems.
It’s important that you have these conversations in a positive manner. Blaming each other or getting angry or accusatory won’t solve anything, but if the two of you work together as a team you can create a strong financial life for yourselves.