10 Money Must-Knows for a Happy Marriage: Are You Prepared?
So, you’re getting hitched! You’re making what you hope will be a lifelong commitment to the one you love through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, now and until death do you part. Sounds heavy? Well, it is! And the best way to make it less heavy is by getting the leading cause for marital splits out of the picture: money fights.
Financial disagreements are among the top 3 causes for divorce, along with infidelity and basic incompatibility. That’s why it’s crucial to get started on the right foot by addressing any potential money issues upfront, discussing short and long-term goals as a couple, and having open and intentional conversations about money. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary stress and focus on building a strong and lasting partnership.
Before we go further, bear in mind that money is a very sensitive topic for some people. Why? Because it’s personal, and it’s based on what you’ve been taught by people you respect and trust, like your parents. There are two main ways in which most people learn about money: what they hear or are told, and what they feel and observe. If you didn’t have role models to teach you about money growing up, you have to figure it out on your own, through trial and error. This can lead to many painful lessons in the form of fees, fines, and penalties. These can cause shame, guilt and remorse. It’s not your fault, but as my dad would say, “Smart people learn from their mistakes, and really smart people learn from other people’s mistakes.”
So without further ado, here are 10 things about money you should discuss with your partner before you tie the knot:
- Joint bank accounts: One of the main ideas of marriage is two become one… two lives, becoming one through, yes you know, sickness and health, richer or poorer etc. I have heard a ton on this topic. Listen, whether you combine accounts or keep them separate, it’s critical to have a healthy financial communication system between the two of you. In general, joining bank accounts makes it much easier to track shared expenses and communicate clearly. The less moving parts, the easier it is to track, communicate and everyone is on the same page. This comes down to trust and communication.
- Open Communication: Successful partners openly communicate about money on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, or at least monthly. They discuss concerns, goals, dreams, fears, all of it. Take time to sit down and talk to your partner about your goals and dreams as a couple. What, where, when, how — don’t hold back. Also, be honest about what you were or were not taught about money growing up.
- Show all your cards: Be honest about debt. Show everything — student loans, credit cards, auto loans, medical debt, tax debts, 401(k) loans, and that loan from Uncle John for the business venture. Talk to each other about how you can become debt-free together.
- Lifestyle choices: I’m not talking about the decision to join a sorority or spring break in Cancun. I am talking about everyday lifestyle. Tory Burch vs. Vans Prada vs. Kohl’s. Charities that are important, hunting season, annual ski trips, you get the point. These things don’t change much even after you get married, and it’s good to be upfront about expectations, non-negotiable things and spending habits.
- Personality differences: Everyone is unique and brings something to the table. There are some qualities you love about the other person and others you don’t quite understand. I chose my wife for the wonderful things she possesses that make me a better person. Things I strive to be myself, look at in bewilderment, and frankly could never see myself doing. We both have these qualities, when put together we are stronger as a whole.
I, for example, am spontaneous and very outgoing. I am very comfortable talking with strangers. I’ve been known to strike conversations up in an elevator. Not only that, but I love Halloween because you can use your imagination, get creative and live out your ideas once a year for all to see. My wife, on the other hand, not so much. She is more reserved, isn’t very talkative around new people, not shy but more comfortable with the other person initiating conversation. Once she gets to know you and likes you, she opens up and lets you in, where I am an open book from the start. She doesn’t like spur of the moment ideas. She likes things to have an itinerary of sorts. Likewise, she tends to plan things out. I, on the other hand, will go with the flow and figure it out as we go. Now admitting it’s not always the best plan of action, but some great stories have come from this approach as you can imagine. These qualities have come in handy on both ends for both of us.
I want to wish you all the blessings of a successful marriage, all the fruits of your hard work, and all the fun memories that come with growing old together. If you need help along your journey, please reach out to me through my website www.progressfc.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connor Tyson (Owner/ Founder of Progress Solutions)
Hi, I’m Connor, I help people going through life transitions who feel they aren’t where they should be in their personal finances, feel unsure or uneasy about their current situation get unstuck from their current situation by providing a simple and proven path forward, so they can move forward with confidence and change the trajectory of their financial futures and that of their families.
- BS degree – Finance, from Quinnipiac University, 1999
- Financial Advisor for over 20 years, Series 65, Registered Investment Advisor
- ChFC ® designation – Chartered Financial Consultant