Money and Marriage: Advice you might not want to hear

Do you and your spouse know everything about each other’s finances? Or do you believe that your money matters are personal? Money talks can be a complete mood killer, especially for newlyweds or when the news is particularly bad.

According to a poll done by Money Magazine, money causes around 70% of the friction between couples. These money arguments are mostly about spending (55%), saving (37%), deceit (21%) and exclusions from purchasing decisions (11%).

Bethany Palmer, co-author of First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple’s Guide to Financial Communication says: “We always think our own way of looking at money is the best, and it creates a tug-and-pull inside the relationship.”

Being on the same page when it comes to money is essential in a marriage.

Here’s some advice that could assist you and your spouse to get on that page, together.

1. Budget together
Nobody likes to be checked up for every meal or item purchased. So do your budgeting together and ensure some financial legroom by putting money aside for each of you to spend freely.

2. Save together, and separately
You should have an emergency fund with enough capital for 3-6 month’s of your household’s expenses. This is something you have to build together. Individually, you must both save towards retirement funds. If you do not have these elements in order, make a plan!

3. Discuss finances frequently
“Not openly communicating about money – something so central to a marriage – creates cracks in the relationship that can eventually split it apart,” says Carla Morelli, the founder of FreyerMartin, a daily money management firm.

Schedule a regular money meeting to make sure your monthly budgets and savings are on track. These meetings are also a great time to reset your financial goals.

Tip: The Money Magazine poll unveiled that couples avoid these discussions in a fear to be lectured to. Money meetings are therefore not a lecturing session from one party to another but rather a time to reflect and take charge.

4. Know how much you both owe, and tackle debt together
In a marriage there is no such thing as separate debt, especially not when it comes to high interest bearing credit card or clothing account debt. The monthly instalments a spouse has to pay every month will directly affect the monthly cash flow of the entire household.

According to a survey done in Britain by MoneySuperMarket, 41% of Britons keep their debt a secret from their families. Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket comments: “The best way to cope is to tackle debts head on, not to bury your head in the sand and be honest to those closest to you, as they are the people who can often provide help and support.”

Therefore, play open cards with each other, and tackle debt together. If you or your spouse are over-indebted, make contact with one of our expert debt counsellors today.

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