Here’s how to deal with finances before, during and – if needed – after marriage.
Love and money can be complicated. According to research by Ramsey Solutions, money is the number one reason married couples fight and a leading cause of divorce. So, when it comes to coupling, finances may be what determines success – or not. These tips will help you no matter your marital status.
Before you walk down the aisle or cohabitate, it’s important to have open conversations about finances. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Be honest about your histories. You need to know if you’re marrying someone who carries a lot of debt or has been through a bankruptcy. These facts may become obstacles when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage together or reaching other financial goals.
Play to your strengths. If you’re a savvy shopper and your partner is a calculated risk taker, rely on each other for managing those distinct aspects of your finances. It might evolve over time, but agree on your approach for managing the finances before you say “I do.”
Every time there’s a job change, children enter the picture or new cars and homes appear on the horizon, your financial situation changes. So, check in on a regular basis. Keep these top of mind:
Tell the truth about your purchases. If you tend to hide shopping bags from your spouse (one in three couples who argue about money have hidden purchases from each other), this will jeopardize your financial planning with certainty.
Set financial priorities together. Dreams and aspirations change, which is why it’s important to have regular check-ins with your spouse about short- and long-term financial goals. Rank the top three financial priorities and have a weekly or monthly meeting to track your progress.
No one enters a marriage thinking it’s going to end, but some do. Finances can be what turns an amicable divorce into a hostile one. If you’re separated, consider this:
Heed the advice of professionals. When it comes to love and money, opinions get heated. Your financial advisor can guide you through some of the practical aspects of this emotional time and be an unbiased resource you can trust.
Open separate accounts. It’s best to close joint accounts and open new separate accounts rather than adding or removing names; it’ll give you a sense of security that you’re the only one with access. Change your direct deposit to go into the new account and start budgeting for yourself immediately.
A healthy relationship with finances and the ability to be honest about them will contribute to a healthy relationship with your spouse and can help set your marriage up for success.
Regardless of your marital status, remember these money tips:
- Be honest with yourself and your significant other about your financial situation
- Check in regularly to be sure you’re on budget and adjust if necessary
- Ask for help from professionals when it comes to finances, short and long term
Sources: daveramsey.com; bankrate.com; marriage.com