With a divorce rate of nearly 50%, some people are wondering whether or not it’s really necessary to share finances in a marriage. However, growing research suggests that sharing money may improve a couple’s chances of staying together. Although combining your finances may help prevent marital discord, it should not be done haphazardly. Instead, combining your finances while remaining mindful and intentional can help strengthen your communication skills and your marriage. Being on the same page financially can help you and your spouse avoid arguments and make progress toward your shared financial goals at a faster rate.
Be Ready to Be Open
Because of our culture, we’re not used to having open conversations about money. However, it’s important to be able to have open and honest conversations about money with your significant other. If you are not married yet, but you’re considering marriage, you should be able to have a conversation about how much money each party makes and how much debt they have. You should also have open conversations about financial goals and retirement plans. If you are older than 35, and you have financial assets, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney and a prenuptial agreement in order to help protect yourself and your assets. You should also have conversations about their spending style. And you should have a plan for managing your money.
Know Your Expenses
A lot of people put their accounts on autopay and forget about them. Though this can prevent late payments, it can also be a dangerous trend when it comes to extra expenses. In order to properly manage your money, you and your partner should sit down together and list the expenses you have. Do not lie about the expenses you have, or the amount of debt you have. This is financial infidelity and your partner will definitely find out. If you’re combining your finances, you will need to be 100% honest about your financial dealings. If you rack up a bunch of debt that your spouse doesn’t know about, your spouse may be able to ask a judge to order you to pay all of the debt in the event of divorce.
Stay on the Same Page
Some couples decide that it’s best to have one person who manages the money. This helps ensure that every bill is paid on time. Though one person is managing the money, the other person should still be involved with the finances. Even if you’re not the one directly managing the money, you should have access to all the accounts. You should also check the accounts regularly so you’re both on the same page regarding where you’re at with your financial goals, and how much money you have in the accounts. Couples should avoid situations at all costs where one person has complete control of the money, and the other person is totally in the dark about the financial affairs.
You and your spouse or significant other should be on the same page regarding priorities. You may need to compromise here to ensure that the top priorities on both sides are considered. For example, if your wife wants to save a lot of money, but you want to buy a new car, you may decide to put some money in a savings account one pay period, then put money in a new car fund during the next pay period. When you and your spouse have your financial priorities straight, you may have fewer fights about money since you’ve already got a game plan making sure each party’s financial priorities are being considered.
One of the best things you can do is set a budget and stick to it. Setting a budget may help you ensure that you do not spend more money than you have available. Following a budget may also help both you and your spouse stay on the same page regarding the state of your finances. Lastly, a budget can also help you both prioritize which items are most important and which items can wait. Couples who carry a lot of extra debt may have additional stress that can affect their marriage. Having a budget and a plan for how you can eliminate your debt as a couple may be a great way to eliminate stress within the marriage.
When You Need Help
If you’re struggling with financial infidelity or marital stress due to financial issues, and you’re ready to end your marriage, CoilLaw is here for you. If your spouse has substantially contributed to your financial hardships you need customized legal advice to see if there are any ways you can protect yourself from your spouse’s financial mishaps. At CoilLaw, our attorneys are committed to advocating for your best interests. If you’re concerned about protecting yourself from your spouse’s financial mistakes, contact CoilLaw today.