Money is one of the biggest reasons why marriages fail. This is because money in general is a hard area to discuss and many of us were not taught how to handle it.
Before getting married, couples are so in love, spend money during the relationship in a bid to make the other person happy, and no one really discusses how the family finances will work, let alone how the business finances will work if one of the partners is an entrepreneur. In addition, most people’s finance blueprint is set by what they witnessed growing up.
For some, the norm is the man has to take care of the home, and the woman’s money is hers to spend as she wishes. (My money is mine, and your money is ours).
For others being 100% open about how much money they have is seen as opening ones self up to vulnerability. Some people like to keep some money hidden away for themselves just in case their spouse runs off with someone else, or has a hidden agenda to take them to the cleaners.
Marriage is a partnership
How can you be in a loving trusting relationship while the finances are kept hidden? I know this works for some people, but it baffles me none the less.
I personally think people need to discuss how the finances will work before entering into a marriage, bearing in mind we all come from different backgrounds; some people are spenders while others are savers, some people have their secret “addictions”, some people live in the now and others focus on the future etc….
If you are already married, it’s still never to late to implement changes as we are all a work in progress. The key to remember is there isn’t a one size fits all solutions, and what works at Jo’s house may not necessarily be successful at yours. However, some of the fundamentals are the same across the board.
- Have a spending plan for the entire household. Discuss what the family future goals are and what stepping stones are going to be put in place to achieve them. A family should have a vision of where they would like to be as well as plan for themselves, the children, and ageing parents.
- Prepare if you’re planning for parenthood – If children may be on the way (now or in future), discuss how you will handle the added child care expenses, the likely drop in income, the potential change in jobs – and other events or factors to accommodate your new work life balance.
- For some couples having a joint account helps, although this can be a tricky one. There are two ways of approaching this depending on each individuals background, credit score, etc…- One way is to have all income come into the joint account, a family spending plan is discussed and then each person takes out an agreed amount to spend as they so wish.– Another way is for each person to have money come into their own individual bank account, but then have a joint account (or an account in one person’s name) to which each person contributes an agreed amount that goes towards bills and everything else budgeted for. For this to work, no one should take money out of this account without first discussing with their spouse.
- Other couples prefer letting one person in the family handle all the finances. This works quite well if couples trust each other 100% and are not going to play the blame game when hiccups happen. The person giving up the responsibility of dealing with money issues should trust the judgement of the person handling the finances and be comfortable with the decisions they make. However, as couple they should still discuss the budget and the person handling the finances should keep the other person updated on how the spending plan is working.
- Some people prefer to allocate bills e.g. the husband takes care of the mortgage, rent, household bills, while the wife takes care of the groceries, child care costs, etc.
However you decide to tackle money matters in your marriage, the important thing is that you DO! No long term relationship should be without a sound understanding of financial wants and needs – that is shared between the couple. The tips above are a great place to start, but if you would like more personally tailored advice, or help with managing money in your marriage, please contact us or check out our 1:1 coaching sessions today.