Whether you are fresh off your honeymoon or have been together for decades, financial problems have surely come up in your marriage.
In fact, numerous studies cite finances as the number one reason couples divorce. That said, it’s possible for a couple to work through concerns related to money and spending; it simply takes patience and a willingness to communicate.
The following are several financial issues you may encounter during your marriage, as well as simple hints for easing these problems. As you’ll see, the solution always come back to healthy communication.
Joint Account vs. Individual Accounts
The question as to whether to merge your finances may very well be one of the first you face as a married couple.
One system is not inherently better than the other; it all depends on your overall approach to marriage. These days, many couples are opting for a middle ground approach, with both spouses keeping some money in individual accounts and also saving a certain amount in a joint account. Later on in your relationship, it may be easier to merge everything into a joint account, but this is not a necessity right off the bat.
Note: For much more on this topic, be sure to check out Dustin’s article – Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?
Are you an impulse shopper or a spendthrift? How about your partner?
If the two of you have completely different approaches to shopping, you may be in for a few nasty arguments. In many marriages, one partner is labeled the spender and the other is labeled the saver.
However, in most cases, this arrangement is not based on the facts. Studies suggest that men and women spend the same amount of money on average; they simply spend their money on different things.
As a couple, you should sit down together and draft a budget, recognizing the fact that one partner’s spending habits are not necessarily superior to the other’s.
If you need help setting a budget that works for both of you, check out this post for a step-by-step guide.
A SmartMoney survey found debt to be the most contentious financial issue a couple will face. Arguments might arise as to the amount of debt a couple is willing to take out in order to pay for a home or a car. Worse yet, one spouse may enter the marriage with absolutely no debt while the other carries a load that seems unmanageable.
Blaming each other for debt will only lead to more problems. Regardless of whether one spouse entered the marriage with debt, you now need to think of it as a joint debt load and figure out how you’ll pay it off together.
Planning for Emergencies
Couples may argue about whether saving money for a rainy day fund is worth it. Hopefully, the stagnant economy has taught you that saving is definitely worthwhile.
How you save and how much you save may present more of a problem. Should the money go into the bank, into real estate or in stocks? These questions may best be resolved with the help of a financial planner, but you can get some tips on setting up an effective emergency fund here as well.
In the end, your relationship can survive and even thrive in the face of these common financial problems – if you and your partner are able to keep an open mind.
Discuss any issues in a civil manner and don’t be afraid to seek help from a financial counselor when necessary. Above all, talk about it!