It's been said that the weakest part of a man's anatomy is his pocketbook. Indeed, money is the biggest threat to anyone's marriage. See our tips on how to manage finances in marriage and learn how to avoid conflict related to money.
Money and marriage go together about as well as vinegar and baking soda.
According to a survey from Ramsey Solutions, the number one issue that couples fight about is money. Their arguments seep from debt and a lack of communication. Money issues are the second biggest cause of divorce, behind only infidelity.
That said, you shouldn’t stop talking to your partner about money. In fact, those in happier marriages are more likely to discuss money regularly than couples in crisis. And, research shows that couples who stick together build more wealth over time than those who remain single.
To avoid conflict and keep your marriage from exploding like a grade school science fair project, here’s how to manage finances in marriage.
Before you sit down with your spouse to talk about your finances, here are some important points to consider:
- You’re not alone – money troubles are very common. Nearly 90% of those married in the last five years started off in debt.
- It’s normal to feel anxious about having this discussion. Debt leads to stress and anxiety, especially when couples think about talking to each other about money problems.
- It’s always a bad idea to hide a purchase from your partner. Many fights start this way.
- Set goals together. According to that Ramsey study, nearly all happy couples set long-term targets for their finances.
Since discussing finances in marriage is a dangerous endeavor, it isn’t surprising that experts have weighed in. Trent Hamm, from The Simple Dollar, recommends tips for talking about money with your spouse:
Those who cannot make it through the stress and anxiety of finances in marriage sometimes divorce. Historically, the resulting financial situation is harder for a woman. Emergency cash for single mothers can be difficult to find.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that “developing comprehensive family-based money and credit strategies is critical … for [the] long-term financial health of the children.”
One of the main ways to build financial health is by building credit. A credit counselor can help you and your spouse figure out goals that are right for your situation. The HHS recommends the following steps for credit counseling:
It is essential that you enter this counseling side-by-side with your spouse. It should be a joint effort.
It’s not your spouse’s fault. We live in a world where the consumer is king if they can foot the bill. Everything from social media to what you search for on the Internet is tied to someone, somewhere trying to make a buck.
Requesting money is a different process when you are married. For one thing, both of your credit histories can play into if you are accepted for the loan. Payday loans with a savings account may be based on you and your spouse’s joint account, if applicable.
Those seeking online payday loans with no bank account may have their spouse’s credit under even greater scrutiny.
These financial situations can be complicated and emotionally intense. It is important to go in with both eyes open.
The percentage of married couples with separate bank accounts varies wildly by age group. Only about 10% of Gen Xer and baby boomer couples keep separate accounts. However, nearly 30% of millennials choose not to combine finances after marriage.
Some couples think divorce and money are easier with separate accounts, but that rarely ends up being the case. Lawyers find ways to go after any and all money during a divorce.
In many cases, it’s easier to manage your money by sharing finances. If you decide to go that route, here are some tips on how to combine finances with your spouse:
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterward.” Make sure you know the spending habits of who you’re marrying. Then, after you tie the knot, try to be patient whenever possible.