As many marriages hit rough patches and finally end up in divorces, many factors are to be blamed. It could be a cheating partner, irreconcilable differences or money matters. Today we will talk about the money matters- mostly how to manage finances as a couple. Managing money as a couple is something so simple and manageable, and yet many couples fail at it.
There is no need for your blissful union to end up in a divorce lawyer’s office because you failed to manage finances in your marriage. We are here to help you keep that flame burning, and living your life stress-free-financial wise. Without further ado, ladies, and gentlemen
1. Talking about it
The first step to managing your finances in a marriage is talking about it. This is actually best if you are yet to wed. When you start getting serious with each other try starting the conversation on money. The sooner the better. If you are already married though, it is not too late to start talking about it.
By talking about money, you will get to know how the other person spends their money. You will also get to learn more about their money management methods, and if you have the same view on money matters.
One thing to note though is how you talk about the money issue. You do not want to be in a conversation where one or the both of you are yelling at each other. Or a conversation where one of you feels targeted and not understood. The tone, in general, needs to be moderate, and you both need to listen and contribute to the conversation.
How can this be done? Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts:
- Talk about each other’s concerns about money.
- Let your partner contribute about how to manage finances in a marriage. It should be a two-way conversation.
- Never stop talking about finances in your marriage. It’s the little information and talks that keeps you going.
- Talk about your future, together, and how to make it better.
- If there are other couples you know that manage their finances well talk about them and how you can borrow a few tips from them.
- Discuss each other’s credit scores especially if you have or are planning on having a joint account. Credit Sesame and Credit Repair are great places to start with. With these, you will both get your credit scores and ways to improve them.
- Talk about ways to save money, and how to spend in a smart way. In fact, it would be ideal if you both got Trim Financial Manager, an app that helps you save and manage your money. We have also talked about ways you can save money that can be beneficial to your discussion.
- Talk about the mistakes each of you has done when it comes to spending, saving and investing money.
- Blame each other. The conversation will get sour faster than you can both stop it.
- Bringing up past actions that have already been sorted out.
- Be a pessimist.
- Yell at your partner or each other for that matter.
- Stop listening or contributing to the conversation.
- Hint how managing finances in your marriage would be better if your partner did this or did not do that.
- Feel like the conversation targets you as a punishment or your better half.
Now that we have gone through the Do’s and Don’ts when talking about managing finances in your marriage, the next step is how to start the conversation. It could be a huge step to take especially if you are not talking about it already. Here are a few hints to get you started:
- Were you given money when you were younger and how did you spend it?
- How did you spend your allowances when in school?
- Did your parents talk about money? How was their conversation like?
- Why should we save and spend in a smart way?
- Is there anyone one we know that is good at managing their finances?
Once you have started the conversation and found ways to keep it going, it will be easy to know about your partner’s personality- money wise. This is our next step.
2. Money Personalities
We all have different personalities when it comes to how we carry ourselves or how we relate with other people in various situations. We also have different personalities on matters of money. You could be a little bit of two or all personalities but there is, of course, the dominant one. That’s the one to look out for.
This is the person that loves saving. Every cent has to be accounted for because it could have been used to do something better in the future.
They thrive on spending their money. Whether it is shopping, traveling, eating out or whatever it is. They derive their pleasure and happiness from spending their money whichever way they wish.
They avoid talking about money as much as possible. To them, talking about money is a burden or a petty subject. Getting them to talk about is like trying to move a mountain!
Just like the personality name, they will try everything possible to avoid talking about money. Yes, they can have that conversation but they do not want to have it. So, they will try to avoid it at all cost.
Our next step is learning about ways to manage finances in a marriage. The conversation does not end at knowing the conversation starters, the Do’s and Don’ts or each other’s personality. Actually, once you have passed all those steps, your next goal is knowing how to manage the finance.
3. Ways to Manage Finances in a Marriage:
This is where you both keep a joint account, and any money earned and spent in your home has to pass through that account. This means the income, savings and expenditure’s accounts if owned, are also joint accounts.
There are actually numerous couples out here that have joint accounts, and it works great for them. To make it work;
- It is important to have a spending limit. In case any of you wants to buy something that is past the limit, it has to be agreed by the both of you.
- Ensure that you both have the same spending habits or personality.
In case you want to share responsibilities, and still, each of you gets to keep a part of their money, then a pooled account will come in hand. This is more of a compromise actually. Where you both contribute to the savings, income, and expenses kitty of your home, but still keep part of your income to yourselves.
Here are a few things to consider and talk about when having this kind of arrangement:
- The amount to be contributed by each partner e.g. 50/50 or 40:50 etc.
- How the money will be spent i.e. the bills to be paid from this account.
- Each other’s money personality so as to agree what habit or behavior is acceptable when it comes to handling finances from this account.
This is where the philosophy of “What is mine is mine, and what is your is yours” applies. It is a nice philosophy to go by when you are starting to date. Unfortunately, it can be a thorn in your relationship when you move in together.
In such an arrangement, may be talking about how to treat each other’s properties. Well, because being in a situation where you are always reminded I bought the TV or the couch or the bed, and it is mine is not a way to live. However, it could be a good way to start to help you learn about each other’s money personalities.
4. Making your System Work
The final step to managing finances in a marriage is coming up with a system and making it work. Whether you have chosen to have a joint account, a pooled account, or separate accounts you need to make it work.
You need to have a minimum amount that needs to be in your account. In case the amount drops below the agreed minimum level, you have to come up with ways to fill it up to the agreed amount or more.
Yes, you have a joint or a pooled account, and how to spend this money but have you discussed when you need to put money in the account? It is such an overlooked factor but it is one of the most important ones. This will depend on how often you are both paid.
Have a list of your expenses and bills to be paid as well as how often they occur. It will also be great to note down how often money comes in.
Keep an Open Mind
You both need to keep an open mind because things could change along the way and you do not want a fight to ensue. Talk about having an emergency account, and how to take care of unexpected finances.
In conclusion, talking about finances in a marriage is such an easy thing especially if you follow our guide. Start talking about finances as soon as possible, learn about each other’s money personalities and how to manage finances in your marriage. Agreeing on a system that suits the both of you will also go a long in keeping your union from financial fights.
Do you and your partner talk about managing your finances? What’s your system like?