Financially Fit Friday with Linda Lingo: Life Changes: Marriage and Money Matters
Money issues are so troublesome that people who say they’re experiencing stress in their relationship cite finances as the number one reason — easily beating out the second place contender: annoying habits, according to a study by SunTrust. Money issues are also responsible for 22% of all divorces, making it the third leading cause, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis.
It’s no secret that fighting about money puts a huge strain on a relationship, but the following tips can help prevent money from destroying your marriage.
Don’t set yourself up for disaster: Don’t overspend on the wedding. While this doesn’t mean couples need to forgoing wedding festivities, those with limited budgets should do something smaller or find other ways to make the wedding more affordable and save the big party for the fifth or tenth anniversary when they’re in a better financial position.
Discuss your Demons: Experts agree that fully disclosing your financial situation with your significant other before tying the knot is a must, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. This is the time to mention outstanding debts, loans, income sources, investments or other financial assets or obligations. (If you’re already married and still withholding this info, now is the time to bring it up).
Understand your partner’s Money Story: “A lot of the fights between spouses that seem as though they’re about money aren’t about [money] at all. It’s actually a clash of temperaments,” says Matt Bell, associate editor at Soundmindinvesting.com and author of the book Money and Marriage. “Temperament is a huge potential source of conflict,” he says adding, one person may be upset that their spouse is spending too much, but the issue may not be just that they can’t afford it but may be something deeper, such as a real fear of not being able to pay their bills some day. Were their parents frugal or big spenders? Did you live on a budget? Did your parents talk about money or was it a taboo subject? What is your spouse’s greatest fear with their finances? All of these answers will play into a marriage and how that partner treats money today.
Set your eyes on the same goals: Have a monthly money date to review all bills, track your spending, and make sure you’re on track. Annually, review your money goals to reaffirm them, or update them.
Don’t ignore the “B” word: There’s no sexy way to say it: you need to have a household budget. It’s the most effective way to keep track of your money, however only around 32% of people have one, according to a Gallup poll. Budgeting may seem tedious, but having one can yield significant benefits, not least of which is preventing the marital turmoil that arises when one or both spouses are in the dark about where their money is going. The good news is that technology has made budgeting a lot easier with the proliferation of online tools and apps that track your accounts and spending for you. One of the most popular programs, which many financial advisors applaud, is Mint — a program that let’s you create a budget and automatically track your accounts and transactions so you can see how you’re progressing. Mint also categorizes your purchases to give you a better idea of how you’re spending your money. There are a lot of other great programs as well (in addition to numerous websites that review them) so it’s worth looking into which program works best for you.
These are several tips to help you get your marriage money matters off to a good start and keep tracking so money doesn’t derail your marriage.
If you’d like to read the complete article from Forbes and all ten money tips to help your marriage stay on track, check out this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferwoods/2015/07/06/10-ways-to-prevent-money-from-ruining-your-marriage
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