WHEN MONEY IS THE ROOT OF YOUR MARITAL PROBLEMS
Don’t Let Finance Issues Ruin Your Love For Each Other.
By Megan Bailey
Several studies have found that up to 81 percent of people are not comfortable with how they handle money. In 2015, a study found that 62 percent of Americans had less than $1,000 in their savings account. There is a lot of financial uncertainty for many families, which is just a problem waiting to explode.
Within a marriage, this causes love to deteriorate quickly. Money is a fact of life and will never stop being a concern. As a couple, it is crucial to get ahead of financial issues soon, so they don’t lead you straight into a divorce. Many situations can lead to money issues, but here is how to overcome them.
Control of money.
Decisions must be made each day for families regarding money. When one partner holds more power over the dough and financial choices, it can cause problems. Resentment and hostility will manifest if one partner does not include the other’s opinion in big decisions. The monthly budget for your marriage should be made together. Both of you should be in contact with your financial advisor if you have one. It should be a joint effort to plan for the future, so don’t let one person make all the choices.
Different financial values.
You and your spouse might have drastically different views on how to handle finances. If one spouse enjoys spending money on non-essential luxury items, but the other spouse prefers to save and spend when necessary, it can quickly cause fights. Understand that there must be a balance. You cannot be so disciplined that you never treat yourself, but also do not want to rack up thousands in credit card debt.
Your different financial values might be due to how you were raised. Spouses can learn to empathize with each other by taking the time to learn the other’s sending habits. This will help you to understand their viewpoint and hopefully allow each of you to come to a compromise. This exercise can be repeated over again as issues come back up.
Lack of funds.
A lack of money can be due to job loss, poor financial planning, or a recession. Regardless of the reasons, it can put pressure on your marriage. It can even cause depression and other mental health issues for one or more partners. When you are stacking up debt, it can feel like there is no way to get out. Blame is quickly cast on each other.
It is essential that both spouses own up to their financial mistakes, and then talk about the fears they have. Ownership will stop the blame game and get you all focused on how to fix the issues. Discussing concerns you have in a non-judgmental way will establish trust with each other. You can more easily work together to fix problems instead of working against each other.
Talking about financial issues can feel overwhelming, shameful, or scary. It can be hard to admit financial mistakes you have made, how much debt you have, or your credit score. However, marriages, where the money is not freely and openly talked about, will likely face difficulties. Being completely transparent about money is a prevention measure.
Newlyweds can be in for a shock if they do not understand their spouse’s finances before tying the knot. If they do not share the detailed debt they have and spending habits, it can cause friction. As said before, it is not comfortable to talk about. However, you should never withhold the looming student debt you have hanging over your head, for example. Additionally, couples should talk about who is going to pay off those credit cards before the marriage.
Keeping up with your neighbors.
Couples should talk about their budget with each other, and not worry so much about what other people think. What your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family choose to spend their money on is not your business. It does not matter if they are getting nice cars and houses if they are choosing to live outside of their means. Do not try to keep up with them if you cannot afford it. Stick to your budget and appreciate what you already have.
Supporting an adult child.
It is not uncommon in today’s society to have one parent want to help an adult child with finances, while another parent wants to cut the support. Before deciding on assisting an adult child, couples should talk about if they have enough for retirement and their own goals. If your pension will not be derailed by giving aid, then you, as a couple, should sit down and set clear expectations and budgets. The child should not be able to call one of the parents up every day asking for money.
Money is the root of so many problems in marriages. Get a counselor to help you work through the emotional issues if problems do not get better, and a financial planner to help you access your finances now. Professionals are worth bringing in so that your marriage does not entirely fall apart.