7 Ways to Avoid Financial Issues in Your Marriage



With money issues topping the list of reasons many marriages end in divorce, understanding how to avoid common financial mistakes in a marriage should be a top priority for every newlywed couple, yet few couples actually face this problem head on. While most people understand the importance of discussing finances to avoid marital conflict, not everyone knows exactly how to go about addressing the issue, or choose to avoid the topic completely. Ideally, these financial conversations should start long before your wedding day, but don’t let that stop you from starting now, even if you’re already years into your marriage. Discussing finances may not always be the most comfortable conversation, but failing to have that conversation can lead to serious problems later on. Here are 7 ways to avoid the most common causes of money troubles in your marriage.

7. Discuss Finances Early On



Before two businesses merge, full financial disclosure on both ends is a given, and the same rule should apply to marriage. Getting swept up in the romance of the wedding is natural and expected, but don’t let wedding planning distract you from taking some time to discuss finances. After all, a marriage is a legally binding contract, and once you’ve tied the knot, your finances are no longer just your own. Spend some time talking about your financial histories and where each of you are financially. While the conversation might not be an easy one (especially if one of you has a less-than-ideal financial track record), knowing exactly what you’re both getting into is an important step in building your future together. This also gives you both an opportunity to make decisions about how finances should be handled in the future, including who should be in charge of budgeting and whether or not a joint bank account is ideal.

6. Set Financial Goals Together



Spend some time talking to your spouse about your major life goals and what those goals may mean for you both financially. Do you hope to buy a house? Go back to college? Start a family? What kind of planning and budgeting will be necessary to make those goals happen? While these are important questions to consider early on in a marriage, don’t assume a single conversation is sufficient for planning your entire future together. Your dreams and goals are likely to change or evolve over time, so prioritize conversations about new financial goals whenever necessary. Setting goals and planning ahead, whenever possible, can help you avoid financial stress later on that may take a toll on your marriage. If neither of you are great in the financial goal-setting department, consider sitting down with a financial adviser to get started in the right direction.

5. Stick to the Budget



One of the biggest causes of financial tension in a marriage is centered around the way money is budgeted and spent. Sit down together regularly and create a budget that both of you are happy with, and then make sure you stick to that budget as closely as possible. Even if something important comes up, don’t disregard the budget without talking to your spouse first. Doing so could result in resentment and animosity, especially if your spouse has been working hard to follow the budget you both agreed to. To help avoid going off-budget, make sure to set aside money for each of you in the budget to account for emergencies and any extra spending. If the budget isn’t working, sit down for another budgeting session that’s more workable, but always make a point to stick to the budget you create.

4. Treat Income Like a Shared Asset



One mistake many newlyweds make is treating their money as their own, as though they’re living with a roommate instead of a spouse. While this may seem ideal on the surface, the what’s-mine-is-mine approach can lead to a lot of resentment and marital troubles down the road, especially if one spouse makes considerably more than the other. Instead of each of you holding onto your earnings, have everything deposit into one shared account to be used for bills and other living expenses. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have your own account with a bit of spending cash available, but starting out with everything in one account will lead to more financial transparency and fewer feelings of entitlement (or economic disadvantage, if you make less money than your spouse) where money is concerned.

As a freelance writer, Kyle enjoys writing and editing diverse content for several businesses across the United States. Find Kyle on LinkedIn!

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