Money can be a significant source of tension and conflict in many marriages. In fact, financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. By working together, communicating effectively, and implementing some financial strategies, married couples can turn money into a bright spot in their relationship.
The Danger of Financial Issues in Marriage
Money is a common issue that couples face in their relationships. It is often cited as a contributing factor in divorce. According to a survey conducted by Ramsey Solutions, money disagreements are the second leading cause of divorce, behind only infidelity. In fact, the survey found that 33% of divorced respondents cited money as the primary reason for their divorce.
One specific form of money-related issue in relationships is financial infidelity. This occurs when one partner hides or lies about their spending or debt from the other partner. According to studies, many couples who reported financial infidelity divorced due to deception.
Another common issue that couples face is disagreements over spending and saving habits. According to a study by SunTrust Bank, 35% of couples reported that money was the primary cause of stress in their relationship, and 25% of couples admitted to arguing about money at least once a month.
6 Financial Tips for Married Couples
The good news is that money doesn’t have to hold your marriage back. It can actually have the inverse effect – strengthening your bond as a couple – when certain steps and systems are implemented. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Communicate openly and regularly
One of the most important things couples can do to improve their financial situation is to communicate openly and regularly about money. This means having regular conversations about income, expenses, debts, and financial goals.
Couples should also be transparent about any individual financial issues or concerns they may have. By having open and honest communication, couples can avoid misunderstandings and ensure they are on the same page regarding finances.
2. Set financial goals together
Another important step for couples is to set financial goals together. This can include short-term goals, such as paying off credit card debt, and long-term goals, such as retirement savings.
Another great option is to approach investing as a team. For example, if you’re going to buy a rental property, why not do it together? Investing in real estate as a couple allows you to work toward a shared vision for your financial future.
3. Create and stick to a budget
Creating and sticking to a budget can help couples achieve their financial goals and reduce stress. A budget should include all income and expenses – down to the penny. This includes fixed expenses like mortgage payments and insurance and variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment, and clothing.
Once a budget is established, it is important to stick to it as closely as possible. This may require lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on discretionary spending or finding ways to save on regular expenses.
4. Decide on joint or separate finances
Couples may choose to combine their finances entirely or keep them separate. Both options have advantages and disadvantages; couples must discuss what works best for them.
Combining finances can make it easier to track income and expenses and work toward shared financial goals. However, it can also lead to conflicts if one partner feels they are not being treated fairly. Keeping finances separate can give each partner greater autonomy and control but can also lead to misunderstandings and a lack of transparency.
5. Prioritize debt repayment
Debt can be a major source of financial stress for couples. Prioritizing debt repayment can help couples achieve financial stability and reduce stress. Couples should work together to create a plan for paying off debts, such as credit cards or student loans, and stick to the plan as closely as possible. This may require making some sacrifices in the short term, such as cutting back on discretionary spending or finding ways to increase income.
6. Plan for emergencies
No one likes to think about emergencies, but they can happen anytime. Couples should have a plan in place for how they will handle unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or home repairs. This may involve setting up an emergency fund or having a credit card with a high enough limit to cover unexpected expenses.
Let the Professionals Help
If you’re struggling to manage your finances or reach your financial goals as a couple, you may want to consider seeking professional advice. Financial advisors or credit counselors can guide budgeting, debt repayment, and other financial issues. Additionally, you may want to consider attending financial education workshops or reading books on personal finance to improve your financial literacy.
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