Handling Financial Issues in Marriage - What You Must Know

By Susan

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Last Updated: August 7, 2021

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Financial disagreements hamper many marriages. It's no surprise that financial difficulties are one of the major causes of divorce. Therefore, it's crucial to consider how marriage may influence your financial situation. Money is the most common source of conflict between married couples. A relationship or marriage is usually put in a difficult situation when there is a financial problem. Dissatisfaction with one's financial situation might cause marital strife. You may argue that the majority of marriages end in divorce due to long-term financial problems. As a result, a couple must understand how to handle their finances together.

You and your spouse owe each other a calm, honest talk about your money, habits, aspirations, and worries if you're serious about your relationship. Money issues need talks in which ego, control worries, and marital duties are all scrutinized. Couples may accomplish more than singles when they work together.

Here's a list of the most frequent financial difficulties that married couples face to pave the way to improved marital economics and relationships.

 

What's yours, mine, and ours?

When both spouses work and can't agree on financial matters or find the time to discuss them, they may opt to divide the expenses or divide them between some other fair and equitable manner. After the debts have been paid, each spouse is free to spend the remaining funds as they see appropriate. Although it appears to be a sensible strategy, the procedure sometimes breeds animosity toward the particular purchases made. It also divides spending power, removing most of the financial benefit of marriage, as well as the opportunity to prepare for long-term goals like homeownership or retirement. It can also rise to destructive behaviors such as financial adultery, in which one partner hides money from the other.

Bill splitting also puts off any planning and agreement-making about how financial responsibilities will be shared if one spouse loses a job; decides to cut back on hours or take a pay cut to try out a new career; return to school, leaves the workforce to raise children; or if there is any other situation in which one partner may be required to financially support the other, or care for a parent. Couples owe it to themselves to talk about such events well before they happen.

 

Debt.

If you have a spending issue and accumulate debt, you owe it to your spouse to inform them since it may affect them. For instance, if you and your partner have outstanding debt and want to purchase a house, delinquencies on your credit card may prohibit you from qualifying or force you to pay a high-interest rate. The solution is to communicate openly about money and debt and to expose any concealed debt to your spouse at once. Then, either on your own or with the help of a financial adviser, devise a debt-reduction strategy. You'll be able to pay it off and improve your financial situation jointly this way. Most people arrive at the altar with financial baggage ranging from student debt to auto loans to credit cards to gambling addictions. When discussing income, expenditure, and debt repayment, if one spouse has more debt than the other—or if one couple is debt-free—conflicts might arise. Debts accrued during marriage remain with the person who incurred them and are not transferred to the spouse, which may give some relief to individuals in similar situations. It will not, however, influence your credit score, which is connected to Social Security numbers and maintained separately.

It's worth noting that in certain nations, regardless of individual or joint account status, all property (and obligations) are shared following marriage. In these nations, you are not responsible for most of your spouse's debt accumulated before marriage. Still, any debt created after the wedding is automatically shared, even if it is applied separately.

 

Extended family.

When one spouse has a family member in financial trouble, it's one of the most difficult financial issues to handle. It's natural to want to help someone you care about, but it isn't easy to continue the assistance, and the money will not be repaid.

Co-managing money and honoring each spouse's objectives, desires, and expectations for their extended family can be particularly difficult. Take, for example, her mother, who is planning a trip to Vegas. His folks are in desperate need of a new vehicle. Her sibling is unable to pay his rent. His sister's spouse was laid off from his work. So now, one spouse is writing a check, and the other is inquiring as to why the money wasn't utilized to meet domestic necessities or to pay for a trip for the family. The strain can be amplified when a significant crisis occurs, such as illness, a big storm, or untimely death.

 

Personality.

Personality may have a huge impact on how people talk about money and how they spend it. Even if both spouses are debt-free, the age-old battle between savers and spenders can manifest itself in various ways. It's critical to understand your own and your partner's financial personalities and discuss these disparities freely. When each spouse has a different financial personality, this might generate financial problems that might disrupt marriages. That is to say, and they have a different perspective on money. For example, one partner may be a spender – someone who enjoys buying new items and isn't afraid to pay a high price for them – while the other is fundamentally a saver, preferring to look for deals. If this condition is not treated, it can lead to serious consequences. The best approach to deal with it is to discuss it honestly and calmly. Each of you should explain your worries and develop a spending strategy that satisfies both of your requirements.

In a nutshell, some individuals are natural savers who may be perceived as frugal and risk-averse, while others are huge spenders who prefer to make a statement, and still, others enjoy shopping and buying. Others amass debt haphazardly, while others are natural savers who put off gratification in favor of future self-sufficiency. Many of us may exhibit more than one of these traits simultaneously, but we tend to stick to one major type. It's best to notice problematic habits, confront them, and limit them, regardless of whatever profile you and your partner most closely suit.

 

Plays of Strength

One of these four scenarios is common for power plays: One partner works for a living while the other does not; both spouses want to work, but one is unemployed; one spouse makes significantly more than the other; one partner comes from a wealthy background while the other does not. When one or more of these circumstances exist, the money earner (or the one who produces or has the most money) frequently seeks to set the couple's spending priorities. Even though there is some logic to this notion, it is still critical that both spouses work together as a team. Keep in mind that while a joint account provides more openness and access, it also comes at a cost. However, it is not a panacea for a marriage's imbalanced power/money dynamic.

 

How to Deal with Money Issues in a Marriage

If you've read thus far, you're probably not shocked that the best approach to deal with such pressures in your marriage is to communicate and be honest about your expectations, aspirations, objectives, and fears. Couples should also develop empathy, be mature enough to check their egos, and let go of any control complex. Yes, saying it is much simpler than doing it. No, there isn't a magic bullet. Some individuals will never get it perfect, but that doesn't mean they can't use tools and strategies to help them deal with the symptoms. Here are some challenges and solutions to consider.

 

Take care of your debt.

Debt is frequently the first item on the agenda for many couples. Knowing what you're going to embark on can assist you in deciding how to proceed. Given this, both parties should have an open, non-judgmental conversation about the debts they would bring into a marriage, particularly when their relationship appears to be serious. Each should disclose any problematic spending or financial habits that the other should be aware of and any personal or family concerns that may influence future spending. Couples should also go through their debts in detail and discuss how they plan to address them.

 

Understand your financial personality type.

As previously said, personality is another component of your relationship that will significantly impact your financial plans and marital pleasure (or lack thereof). While dating, pay attention and be open about who you are and how you were raised. Talking about your feelings and thoughts may put both parties at ease, or at the very least, give them a sense of what to expect.

 

Keep your ego in check.

The power play situation might soon devolve into chaos. Being made to feel inferior is one of the most powerful motivators of resentment. If you have more money, you must be extra careful about how you display your spending selections. Even in healthy relationships, worry and anxiety are usually unavoidable if you don't have the financial resources. When couples wait until later in life to marry, this topic arises more frequently. According to studies, people in positions of authority are more prone to act selfishly, impulsively, and violently, as well as approach others with less empathy. Each spouse in a marriage should consider whether their actions contribute to a more whether you have a friendly, grateful, and equal relationship or not.

The higher-earning spouse can outsource all spending choices to the lower-earning spouse, which has proven effective. Of course, it takes a specific type of mentality to decide to relinquish control, but it might be a good road to serenity if you can.

 

Take care of your family.

"All happy families are identical; each sad family is miserable in its own manner," Tolstoy writes in Anna Karenina. Extended family may be difficult to deal with, and no single piece of advice can adequately address every circumstance and the resulting emotions. Even if you are on the winning side of the debate, the loser may be able to extract a punishment that balances your victory. It may be a nightmare to live with a resentful, angry, and irritated partner. Having a predetermined policy (such as asking for consent) might assist avoid problems. Small infractions will be smoothed over if you default to understanding.

Before and after the wedding, good (and often painfully honest) communication may soften the impact of poor financial news and lead to open discussions about each partner's money worries, skeletons in the closet, expectations, and habits. You and your partner owe each other such a talk if you're thinking about starting what you hope would be a long-term relationship. Unfortunately, many marriage problems stem from a lack of communication. This is where a lot of the hard work of marriage takes place. Like common health concerns, financial worries may grow into much larger issues with much more difficult remedies if not addressed. The best approach to ensure that you and your husband are on the same page regarding your joint finances is to discuss them frequently, honestly, and without judgment. Don't do it if you're angry or weary.

Checking in on short- and long-term goals once a month, once a quarter, or once a year may be useful to couples. An annual financial plan and regular check-ins might help you avoid the stress of talking about money and stay on track. In addition, you might wish to get expert, unbiased counsel from a financial counselor or planner.

 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

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