Marriage and Heading Off Money Conflicts

While many people may not believe that money - or its lack - can have a material impact on their marital relationship, perhaps surprisingly a good 80% of divorces are the result of conflict over money woes.

Marriage and money, however, can be compatible. Couples, though, need to work at it, bringing their expectations, historical spending habits, personal needs, and lifestyle desires to the table for open discussion.

Following are some tips that can be used to prevent marital problems spurred by financial issues:

1. Learn your spouse's spending style, and determine whether it is compatible with your own. If you discover issues that may lead to problems in the marriage, address them up front, or at the very latest as soon as they are uncovered.

If you ignore differences in your separate spending habits, they can easily lead to arguments that literally have the potential over time to become the end of your marriage.

2. Save money and shop wisely whenever possible, even if you have money to burn. Regardless of what you commit your finances to, it never hurts to spend time unearthing the best value for your dollar. Doing so may even prevent needless conflict from developing in your marriage - although admittedly, doing so might also stir it up if one of you loves to spend. In that case, back to point 1 above...

3. When you are out as a couple evaluating potential purchases, don't be afraid to discuss money issues to make the best decisions for your financial situation. While these discussions may not prevent all financial disagreements, they have the potential to at least diffuse some of them - and to keep open the lines of communication in your marriage.

4. Marriages require trust to be successful - and that also includes trust in financial matters. So be realistic when dividing up financial responsibilities based on individual capabilities and interests rather than on who earns what. For example, maybe one of you is particularly good at generating income while the other is great at investing. Exploit your talents for the greater good.

5. Never underestimate the importance of budgeting your income rather than simply pulling out a plastic card first and asking questions later. Most people who fail to commit time planning ahead regret their impulsiveness later, winding up in otherwise easily avoidable financial binds - and added marital stress.

In addition to preserving your financial security, budgeting your finances is a great way to spend time together as a couple as well as improve your communication skills. You learn a lot about your mate during a budget discussion.

There is absolutely no need for that 80% of marriages which fail to do so because of money issues. Taking simple steps to handle your finances as a couple can help your marriage endure and thrive over the long-run.

Marriage and Money

Americans hate to let opportunity pass them by and it is that aggressive pursuit, which has made us the last super power. But the technologies that helped create the good life, have become an overloaded. From food to information, technology has perpetuated what Americans have come to accept as a "necessity". There is growing evidence that this new demand driven environment is making humans sick, in mind and body. For the reward driven creatures that humans are, having the ability to consume endlessly is self-reinforcing and addictive. The idea of more makes many people forget the reality of the world, which is, of course, that happiness doesn't come from just material acquisition. It comes from a totally different source: the way in which you spend your life with other people. You can be happy with much less information, fewer material goods, much less of the stuff that we have now. But nobody really looks in the rearview mirror -- they're all driving ahead. If you drive a car looking in the rearview mirror, rather then the windshield you are bound to crash. The fact is, you need to do a U-turn, because happiness lies somewhere behind you, not down the road. More cars, more houses, etc., are not going to do it for you.

One driving mantra that perpetuates the frentic lifestyle is time is money. The emotion that money evokes for many is the fear of losing it. To combat this fear, you may try to acquire more and more, as if somehow large quantities will protect you from your fear. But if you are predisposed to fear, you will feel it no matter how rich you are. For most people, money is associated with work. Working for money gets you out of bed in the morning, and can energize you and move you forward. As you strive for success, you hope that more money will flow. The striving helps you stay vibrant and alive, but placing too much emphasis on financial rewards can limit your options. Yet, the emotions around money can be destructive. You might become jealous and come to resent anyone who has more money than you do. Or you might use money to gain power over others, thus creating superficial and controlling relationships. Couples are especially vulnerable to money-related conflicts. One partner wants to spend more, the other less. One believes that money is the most important contribution to the relationship, the other partner believes that emotional support is more important. However, money woes may really be a smokescreen that hides complex problems related to intimacy.

Let me tell you about Natalie (30) and Paul (30). They have been married for 8 years and have 2 daughters, 8 and 6. They met at a health club in Manhattan. Natalie was studying nursing and Paul was a massage therapist. They married and in order to make money, Paul became a real estate agent. Natalie quit her studies and raised her daughters. They moved to the suburbs of Long Island. Now 15 years later, Paul is fed up with his job and wants Natalie to pick up some of the slack.

Natalie: I'm so glad you're home on time. I have my aromatherapy course tonight.

Paul: Your what?

Natalie: I told you. Aromatherapy. I'm picking up Melissa, you know my friend from Jazzercise...I made veal parmesan. You can pop it in the microwave. Janie's at basketball practice and Lindsey is coming home soon. Marge is dropping her off. Oh and there's a salad in the fridge. And Janie has math homework she needs help with.

Paul: (picks up the mail lying on the dining room table and opens it-grimaces.)

Natalie: What's the matter?

Paul: This phone bill is so high. Who have you been speaking to?

Natalie: (shrugs her shoulders) No one different than usual. Honey I gotta go. I've got that class.

Paul: You don't even ask.

Natalie: Ask what? What's the matter?

Paul: It fell through.

Natalie: What?

Paul: That house on Hewlett Bay. The deal. (he wipes his forehead with his hand)

Natalie: I meant to ask you.

Paul: I was counting on that commission money...they backed out at the last minute... the bank wouldn't give them the mortgage they needed. They totally misrepresented themselves... I've been working on this deal for two solid months. And now it's dead.

Natalie: (rubs his back) You know something else will come through.

Paul: Easy for you to say. You don't worry about all of the bills all of the time.

Natalie: That's not true. I do worry. Paul: What did you do today?

Natalie: Why are you asking?

Paul: Because I'm tired of shouldering all of the burden in this family. So tell me, what did you do today? Natalie: Don't put me on trial. I'm not to blame because the deal fell through.

Paul: I am so tired of this. I wish you would get a job so there wasn't so much pressure on me. It's time. I've told you.

Natalie: I want to get a job but what am I going to do? I don't want to leave the girls.

Paul: Lindsay's going to junior high next year. They don't get home until 3:00. You've got all day. It's time to get off of your rear end and do something.

Natalie: I do do something. I'm here all the time taking care of this house making sure that the your shirts are ironed, making sure there's food and laundry. But you don't appreciate anything I do. Who's going to wait at home when the refrigerator needs to be repaired and the repairman doesn't come home for three hours? Who's going to cook the gourmet meals you love. Who? There's a price if I go to work, Paul. A big price. Anyway, I can't talk about this now. I've got to go.

Paul: I do appreciate what you do. But you spend every morning at the health club. It's enough already. Natalie: That's not true. Look. You were the one who wanted me to quit nursing school because you wanted me home with the girls. It's not fair now to change the rules.

Paul: I don't know why you have to take an aromatherapy course. Take something that will prepare you to work.

Natalie: Now is not the time to discuss this.

Paul: No. Not for you. I am out there busting my balls every day and you, you're waving lavender around. Natalie: You didn't complain when I was alone with the kids all those years. This is the first time I have a space for myself. It's not fair for you to expect me to take a job when I'm not qualified to do anything. If I hadn't gotten pregnant so fast maybe I could have finished nursing school.

Paul: The game has changed Natalie. It's time for you to pick up the slack.

Natalie: I'm going to my course now. I just don't think you're being fair. Just because you had one hard day.

Paul: I've spoiled you. I don't tell you because I don't want to upset you. But you don't know how many hard days I have.

Natalie: Well it's no picnic here either. I work hard. You just don't see it because I've spoiled you. You don't do a shred of housework. You have no idea how much effort it takes to run a house well, to make meals, to make sure the girls are happy, to take them to ballet and basketball and to be there for them. I'm not home sitting on my butt, regardless of what you think. And I don't want to have latchkey kids. I won't do it to them.

One reason we strive so passionately towards accumulating money is the sense of pride it offers. In this modern world, humans are trained to think that receiving money or valuable stuff is evidence that you are a good, worthwhile person. While money is a part of the story, there are many other parts. If low self-esteem is founded in childhood wounds, no amount of money or shopping will heal it. Your value can also be gauged by many things, the love and support you share with others or your talents and accomplishments. Most importantly, you need to accept that all human beings have worth. Bill Gates is not a superior person because he has lots of money and the person who is getting food stamps because they lost their job is not an inferior person. How do you judge superior and inferior in humans? What is the standard? Who is the average person to compare against? Yet, if you have money and status your life may be easier, but you not a superior person. The difference between having an easy or hard life versus being a superior or inferior person is often confused. Again, the ability to do what is hard and do it anyways is courageous and success is based on you efforts, not your outcomes.

Marriage and Money Tips

The ceremony and honeymoon are over and reality has now set in. You are living together as one and both of you will need to make some adjustments. This is especially true of money and debts that both of you have incurred prior to your marriage. This article will provide you with some tips on how to begin the process in making your marriage last, being prosperous and taking control of your finances.

Begin With The Basics

Create a household budget and stick to it!
Pay down any debt accrued before you got married.
Start saving for our future together.
Plan for the unexpected.
As a couple, create a total financial game plan.

This step requires patience and persistence. Sit down together and begin to formulate your plan. There are tools that you can use to assist you in budget planning. The sooner you do this the better chance you have of not fighting over finances as a couple. SmartMoney indicated this is the biggest problem facing married couples.

Some Tips to Consider

Update your will if you have one. If not, make one.
Update your life insurance policy if you have one. If not, buy a term life insurance policy that covers the entire family including children.
Update your medical power of attorney.
Decide on guardians for your children.

Suggested Budget Plan

35% Housing - includes mortgage or rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and home maintenance.
20% Transportation - includes car payments, auto insurance, tag or licenses, maintenance, gasoline, parking, tolls and transit.
15% Debt - includes student loans, retail installment contracts, credit cards, personal loans, tax debts and medical debts.
20% Other - includes all other expenses: food, clothing, entertainment, childcare, medical expenses and charity.
10% Savings - save at least 10% of your income throughout your working years. Pay yourself first!

Keeping finances separate or in a joint bank accounts is a matter of personal preference. But, whatever you decide, do not forget to communicate! This should be done on a regular basis.

Do's and Don'ts

Do break bad debt habits (90 million households carry credit cards, with an average debt load of more than $10,500 (USA Today, March 22, 2009.)
Do not delay in paying off credit cards completely. (The average household pays about $1,000 in credit card interest a year. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 18, 2004)
Do communicate honestly about your spending habits.
Do not abuse your credit.
Do communicate on a regular basis converting the household finances. This cannot be stressed enough.

Save For A Rainy Day

Starting a family or retiring from your job might seem like a long way off, but it pays to start planning early. Saving and investing is an essential part of your financial game plan. This means more than just putting a few dollars into a savings account. Here are some suggested areas of saving:

Emergencies: According to a recent survey, only 28% of households said they have enough money saved to weather a financial difficulty. (Money, April 2004). If you have to make a home repair, pay for an unexpected injury or supplement a spouse's income due to unemployment, you need to have some cash on hand. A good goal to shoot for is to have enough for at least 3 months of core expenses.
Short Term Goals: Maybe you are dreaming of a summer vacation, new appliances for your home or another big-ticket purchase. Save up for things. It is better to pay cash than getting locked into high interest credit card debt.
Children's Education: If you plan to start a family, it is a good idea to think about education. With annual tuition at a 4-year public university topping $8,000, starting early can make a big difference. Determine if you plan on paying all or part of this expense. Inform your children how much they will be paying for before they start there first college course.
Retirement: If you are among those who have not saved a dime for retirement, starting now will pay big dividends later. You need to start saving and investing now. Social Security checks will not cover all of your basic retirement needs. You will have to supplement Social Security with additional retirement funds. The average Social Security check for individuals was $1,079 and $1,761 for couples as of 2008.

Plan For Tomorrow...Today

No one wants to think about tragedy or loss, but you should discuss with your spouse a game plan if something unexpected should happen to either of you. Nothing can replace the loss of a spouse. A term life insurance policy protects your family if something should happen. Depending upon your expenses, if you have children, a policy that covers between 6 and 10 times your income should be enough. (, August 4, 2003).

In addition to the life insurance policy, it is important to talk about each other's wishes if one should die. Discuss burial site, to be cremated or not, and a will covering the distribution of your assets and care of your children.

Next Steps

What has been presented seems like a monumental task for you to think about. It is not that hard. You will need to focus on your situation. Every married couple is unique and their finances are no exception. Good luck! May your marriage be successful and prosperous.

Don't Let Money Secrets Destroy Your Marriage

Money has always been a serious stressor to marriage (and is often listed as the number one cause of divorce.) But, as the world economy takes a nose dive many couples watch helplessly as their assets and savings dwindle, while others face job loss and homes in foreclosure. Watching events like the stock market losing 700 points with no real end in sight can bring about feelings of vulnerability and panic that can seriously stress even the most stable marriages.

These volatile economic times can cause spouses to act in destructive ways that aren't typical of them. People stop communicating. They panic. They avoid what is the truth of the situation. They are tempted to just run away. I understand these reactions completely. However, I want to stress to you that especially in volatile times such as these, you need a loving marriage as a buffer from these tough times more than ever before. Allowing your marriage to be damaged will only make things worse. If you want to find a way to keep issues and secrets stemming money from negatively affecting and destroying your marriage, I'll offer tips that I hope will help.

Understand That The Money Situation Is Fleeting And Ever Changing, But Your Marriage Shouldn't Be: Although it may not feel like it right now, this money situation can and likely will work itself out with honest, open communication and through supporting one another. I can not tell you how many stories about the Great Depression I have heard from my Great Grandmother. I am sure that you have too from your family. I've heard stories of her children having to use the plastic newspaper wrapper as shoes and of the sons leaving school for a while to help support their sisters. I've heard tales of heat being turned off and parents going without food so that children could eat. These stories seem unreal to me, but one thing that we can all take from this is that most marriages survived these devastating money challenges. Our grandparents did not allow these trying times to tear them away from those they loved.

My great grandparents were happily married up until their death. And, they owned a nice home with a decent amount of assets. Yes, they went through devastating money problems, but they didn't allow it to destroy them. It's entirely possible to recover from money issues, especially when you pull together with those you love.

Address Any Dishonesty And Secrets About Money Now So That The Healing To Your Marriage Can Begin: I've been hearing a lot from people (mostly wives but some husbands) who are afraid that these turbulent financial times are going to expose money secrets and omissions that they've been hiding.

As more and more couples are forced to take a brutally hard look at their finances, little credit card bills and secret stashes that were brushed under the rug are more likely to come out into the open now. My best advice? Let them, but when they do have an honest, heartfelt and open discussion with your spouse to honestly address the issues and come up with a plan. Sit down with your spouse at a time when you are both calm and receptive and just come out with it. Explain that it was a mistake that you deeply regret but you are committed to fixing the problem with an open and honest heart. Your spouse may well be angry until they have time to process this and see that you are completely sincere and will make good on your promises. Understand that keeping secrets (money or otherwise) in a marriage is a sure fire way to create distance and erode intimacy.

Allow Money Issues To Bring You Closer Together In Your Marriage Rather Than Tearing You Apart: In any crises situation that occurs in a marriage, one of two things will typically happen. The spouses will either huddle together, commit to being a team, and use the marriage as a safe haven from the crises or they will allow the crises to erode the marriage - causing distrust, distance and negative feelings. Many people allow this process to just happen rather than making a conscious choice.

If you take anything away from this article, please take this. Yes, we live in very stressful times right now. Money issues and secrets that are destroying marriages is far too common. I understand that these things can make you feel vulnerable, stressed, out of control, scared, and angry. However, adding a troubled marriage or even a divorce to your list of problems is only going to make things worse in most cases.

Trying to support two households instead of one is even more difficult than any money problems that are on the table. Not having the emotional and physical support of your husband or wife could very well make you feel even more miserable and vulnerable. In times of turmoil and crises, we all need a partner to help us weather these storms. Let your spouse be that partner.

Yes, there may be money secrets and stress between you. But, take this as an opportunity and a chance to be honest with your spouse and bring all of those things that were hiding in the dark into the light. It can make your marriage stronger. And this closeness, support, and strength can help you make it through difficult times.

Marriage and Money

There are no rules here, most of the time it is just trial and error, and that's just fine. The wonderful thing about starting out in marriage and merging finances is that the very foundation points of your marriage are what will make your financial decisions a success.

Honesty, communication, flexibility and trust.

Hopefully most key things are worked out even before marriage, myself and my wife decided she was a much better organiser and budgeter so mostly the financial organisation was hers although we constantly keep each other updated on bills and when they have to be paid, Love internet banking. We each have different money management styles and that takes some getting used to as well. She is a saver, I see and buy, within reason of course

You have just come from financial independence so how will you work your money now, separate accounts putting into a joint fund, joint account with incomes pooled together. You really need to talk this one through but don't stress in the beginning, as I mentioned different money management styles take time to iron out and build trust. But work towards joint banking slowly for later big decisions will be made like, buying a home or when children come along so it makes sense

Sit and work out a budget, there are some great tools on the internet these days. It is always good to see in black and white your incoming against your everyday outgoing living expenses. Then you can work out a personal spend limit each, you still need to have your own independent money to spend as you will, or to buy a gift with no statement record.

Talk honestly about your credit history as one partners previous credit sins could become your own when applying to buy something together like a home. Once a year you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report of the 3 main credit bureaus: Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. Discuss it and if need be make plans to correct it, check for valuable information.

Think ahead; if you jointly own your home make sure you both have life insurance because God forbid if one dies the other could be left homeless. Update your will when necessary, like when children come along. Your money may not go to them and your parent if the beneficiary, they could not give it to them without gift tax problems.