Married Couples Must Do This or Risk Divorce
Do you and your honey fight over money? Most couples do. A 2014 survey by Money Magazine revealed that 70 percent of married adults argue over finances. Touchy issues are credit card debt, budgeting, and frivolous purchases. However, fighting over finances doesn’t mean your future is doomed. Laurie Puhn, a New York couples mediator, states that all healthy marriages have money squabbles. You can disagree with your sweetie and remain in harmony. Below are ways to keep money from undermining your marriage.
1. Be Willing to Compromise
Be at peace with having different perspectives. There are several reasons why the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye. Studies show that men and women naturally differ in how they view money. Men are more comfortable taking financial risks. Women regard money as a means of security.
Your childhood and family life prior to marriage have a strong influence on how you handle money. If money was formerly meager, you may keep a tight grip on the purse strings. If capital was plentiful, you may have a more c toward spending.
One of you may be forward-looking, with an eye on the future. Your honey may have the tendency to “live for today.”
It may not be easy to concede to your sweetie, but the marital rewards are great. Compromising confers the following benefits:
- fosters a spirit of teamwork
- increases the likelihood of reaching solutions
- demonstrates the strength of your love
- deepens appreciation for the sacrificing spouse
- preserves respect between partners
2. Set Priorities
Identify your financial goals. Do you want to buy a car or house? If you have a child, do you hope to establish a college fund? Priorities change with time. Monthly meetings will keep you both on the same page. Brainstorming together will bring solutions to problems.
When you have your huddles, be honest with each other. Openly voice your worries and concerns. Avoid keeping secrets. Hiding debt compounds marital stress.
RELATED ARTICLE: Do These 3 Things and You’ll Prevent Cheating In Your Marriage
3. Have Five Savings Accounts
Have yours, mine, and ours bank accounts. Use individual savings for personal purchases. Joint savings can pay the household bills. A fourth account should be ear-marked for emergencies. Dedicate a fifth nest egg to the future.
4. Create a Budget
Draw up a budget for the joint account that pays the bills. Choose your form of record-keeping, paper versus electronic. If you’re not comfortable with computers, an accounting ledger will fit the bill. If you’re computer savvy, financial software can facilitate the process. Following are highly-rated programs and the advantages of each:
- Mint – Link your accounts, track transactions, establish goals, and create a budget. The program will also export your data to TurboTax. Mint is available online. There’s also an app version for smartphones and tablets. Mint is free.
- Level Money – Enter your income, expenses, and spendable cash. You get a clear view of where your money goes and how much cash remains. Create daily, weekly, and monthly budgets. This app is free for iOS and Android.
- HomeBudget – Manage your budget as a couple with the syncing capacity of this software. It allows two users to track income, expenses, bills, and balances. The Family Sync feature gathers and integrates data from multiple mobile devices. HomeBudget is available for iOS and Android at a cost of $4.99.
5. Divide and Conquer
Divvy up expenses and allocate responsibility. Assign tasks according to personal inclination. You may have an affinity for keeping an eye on utilities. Your beloved may have a knack for keeping track of the mortgage. Sharing the burden of bill-paying minimizes stress. Show your partner they can count on you to keep your end of the bargain.
6. Establish Spending Guidelines
The following strategies can help:
A. Pay in person with cash. Fund face-to-face purchases with greenbacks. This curbs credit card debt. Budget experts advise keeping separate cash envelopes for weekly expenses, such as groceries, gasoline, and pet supplies. When you both see what you’re spending, it cultivates restraint.
B. Agree to consult each other regarding big-ticket items. Examples of expensive buys that merit collaboration are:
- washing machine and dryer
- home entertainment system
C. Use the CPU system. CPU is an acronym for “Cost Per Use.” You weigh the cost of an item against frequency of use. You only make the purchase if the expense is reasonable. For example, you can’t justify paying $500 for shoes that will only be worn five times. The cost per use would be $100. However, spending $500 on a suit is defensible since it will be worn multiple times.
D. Before buying, ask yourself “Do I really need this?” If money is tight, pose this pointed question. It will clarify a decision in short order.
E. Unless the need is urgent, don’t buy something on credit until you can afford it. In the meantime, save a specific amount of money toward the item each week.
F. If you’re still ambivalent about a purchase, sleep on it. Let your subconscious mind guide your decision.
7. Enlist Professional Support
If money is such a heated topic that you’re headed for marriage meltdown, seek professional assistance.
Financial Therapist (FT) – This professional has a background in psychology and fiscal expertise. They will help uncover underlying issues, such as control, security, autonomy, and self-esteem. Core beliefs about money are revealed. Financial stressors are identified. The therapist then helps a couple develop skills to improve communication, resolve problems, and achieve goals.
An FT may be a psychologist or social worker. Fees average $100-$150 per hour.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Top 10 Reasons Married Couples Split Up
To find a qualified FT, visit the website of the Financial Therapy Association at Financialtherapyassociation.org. By performing a state search of the member directory, you’ll have access to local professionals. Each listing includes the provider’s contact information, profile, and personal statement.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) – If arguments revolve around budgeting and investing, consider hiring a financial adviser. You’ll receive:
- assessment of your expenses, savings potential, and net worth
- assistance in setting financial goals
- an action plan
- a professional finger on the pulse of your progress
A CFP is compensated in one of three ways:
- fee only – a fixed or hourly fee for a specific service
- commission – a percentage earned on products sold
- fee offset – commissions are offset against fees for the planning service
Hourly fees range from $100-$400, averaging $175. Commissions range from 1 percent on money market accounts and Treasury bills to 5.5 percent on mutual funds.
To locate a CFP, obtain a referral from a banker, business associate, or insurance agent.
The Financial Planning Association can direct you to a CFP in your locale. Go to: Plannersearch.org
Keys to Financial Harmony
Now you have seven keys to sweet financial harmony:
1. Be willing to compromise.
2. Set priorities.
3. Have five savings accounts.
4. Create a budget.
5. Divide and conquer.
6. Establish spending guidelines.
7. Enlist professional support.
We wish you prosperity with this Irish blessing:
May you have love that never ends, lots of money and lots of friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do, and may God send many blessings to you!