According to recent studies, approximately 13 million people have a secret account or credit card (1. Yahoo, 2016). Honesty is crucial when it comes to money & finances.
If you want a quick way to gain a deeper emotional connection with your spouse, be honest about your financial landscape. Couples who are honest about their money & finances are often more emotionally connected than partners who commit financial infidelity.
You and your spouse come from two different money backgrounds, which can make it difficult to be truthful. You may have different spending, saving or investing habits, and being honest can create a certain discomfort in the relationship. However, it is a necessary part of maintaining trust and connection within your spousal bond. One of the biggest mistakes couples can make is to expect honesty in other areas of their relationship, but to exclude this one. When you are vulnerable and share the truth about money with your spouse, you can start working as an effective practical team.
Here are 3 Ways to Keep Money & Finances from Ruining your Marriage:
- Be deliberate in creating and/or adjusting your money roles
When certain topics come up in session, I often hear couples say, “we will deal with that when it arises.” While there can be a certain level of truth and value in that ideology, there is also truth and value in planning, especially when it comes to major things like money & finances. Who will pay the bills? Do you have separate or joint accounts? Are either of you feeling upset with the current structure? Is there a plan for saving and spending habits? How will you manage power differences? What happens when you have children or a crisis arises, will that change things? How will you be honest and fair if you maintain separate accounts? The most commonly reported source of stress for couples is money (2. Money Habitudes, 2015), however clarity about the roles and expectations can relieve a large amount of frustration and stress.
- Set up weekly check-ins
Does this feel contrived? Well, it is. If you have trouble being honest and talking about money in general, it is important to create a space to do it. It is not as easy as just ‘thinking it will come naturally’ because often, it doesn’t. According to Money Habitudes, “Eighteen percent of those surveyed say money is a taboo subject in their family, and 36 percent say talking about money makes them uncomfortable” (2. Money Habitudes, 2015). Weekly check-ins about your money & finances will be a way you two can get on the same page. You can discuss what the expenses are, what spending looks like this week, where you are with saving and any unexpected costs arising. When you two are on the same page with these topics you will feel much better about what is going on.
- Be proactive and cover your bases
Money & finances are not only an immediate topic to address, but also a long term issue. To avoid issues that may come up in the future, discuss your goals together and start acting now. You and your spouse will feel wonderful knowing that your goals are in the making now and you are acting as a team. Think retirement accounts, college savings accounts, insurance coverage and other long-term savings goals. According to recent studies, “Approximately 26% of adults have no savings set aside for emergencies, while another 36% have yet to start socking away money for retirement (3. Credit Donkey, 2016).” The first step to reaching a goal is to map it out and then begin taking the steps to get there.
- Poll: 13 Million Americans Commit Financial Infidelity, Yahoo! Finance, February 2, 2016. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/poll-13-million-americans-commit-030000766.html
- Financial Behavior & Attitudes: Marriage and Money Stats, Financial Infidelity, Financial Planning, Money Habitudes, 2015. http://www.moneyhabitudes.com/about/press-news/financial-behavior-and-attitudes-statistics/
- 23 Dizzying Average American Savings Statistics, Credit Donkey, May 18, 2016. https://www.creditdonkey.com/average-american-savings-statistics.html