Money and Marriage: Rethinking Your Finances When You Say “I Do”
When it comes to money and marriage, many couples who have been together for a significant amount of time will tell you that finances can be a major sore spot for the relationship. And while money can certainly be a cause of friction within a marriage – and sometimes, even the topic of a disagreement that is large enough to lead to divorce – it doesn’t have to be. Couples can take financial advantage of their married status and work together to smooth over any wrinkles in a financial plan. Here are some tips for success, and things to think about, when it comes to money and marriage.
- Be Open
Before vows are said and rings are exchanged, couples should commit to having open and honest dialogue about their financial health and goals. One of the biggest causes of tension can be secrets about how much money is saved, credit card debt, and investments. If you do not know your partner’s financial goals, as well as their current assets and liabilities, putting a plan in place will be impossible
Remember that you married your spouse for a reason and that you love and trust them. If you do encounter a financial problem throughout the course of your life together, commit to handling it with patience. Being open, not just about your own situation, but about any hiccups in your partner’s too, will help you to have a healthier relationship
- Come to an Agreement
Not only do you need to be honest about your financial situation, but you also need to have an agreement in place regarding money and marriage. Who will be the primary earner in the marriage? Who will be responsible for managing money? If both partners work and earn money, is the money kept in separate accounts or combined into one? What contributions can a non-earning partner make to glean respect
You should also come to an agreement about your financial goals and where money will be spent in the future. What’s more important – having a big house or having more money to travel? Do either of you plan on going back to school? Is a baby in the future
- Use Marriage to Your Financial Advantage
Now that you are married, you have an opportunity to take advantage of savings and investment opportunities. With combined income and combined savings, you may be able to pool your assets in order to make a larger down payment or afford a bigger home, to reduce bank or account management fees, and more. If you are jointly filing your taxes, you may also qualify for a bigger tax break based on your married status. Remember that while money can be divisive in the marriage, shared finances have many benefits, too
- Get Help If You Need It
Sometimes, the tips above are not enough to keep a couple from running into financial difficulty. When this is the case, do not be afraid to seek money and marriage help. Depending upon the problem, consider meeting with a marriage counselor, a financial advisor, or both
With patience, a little research, and a plan you can make money and marriage work for you.