Is love “enough” for a healthy and happy relationship, especially when it comes to financial troubles?
According to CNBC, in a study done by SunTrust Bank, it was found that money is the leading cause of stress in relationships. 35% of all respondents said that money was the primary cause of friction in their relationship. And, for those aged 44-54, 44% said money was their relationship’s biggest source of stress.
According to the same survey, 34% of survey takers said they were the saver while their partner is bad with money, and 47% said they and their partner have different saving and spending habits.
And, it’s no surprise that money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce.
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I’ll be honest with you, I get a lot of questions about marriage and finances. Actually, hardly a day goes by that I don't receive an email or Facebook comment from a reader with concerns about the bad spending and saving habits of their partner.
Here are a few of the situations I’ve recently been asked about:
- My husband spends over $1,000 a month on entertainment but we have a lot of debt. How should I approach him about it?
- My wife is hiding her spending from me and I know she is. How do we work through this?
- My partner isn't trying to find a job but we desperately need the money. What should we do?
Now, if you're in a relationship with someone whose financial beliefs and practices oppose your own, does that mean you're doomed and should end it all?
Fortunately, there are ways you can work towards resolving your financial differences and improving your money and marriage behaviors. Before calling it quits due to financial stress, you should:
- Be honest, and stop keeping money secrets from your partner.
- Stop ignoring the problem.
- Make a budget and start following it.
- Make money conversations a priority, even if they have been difficult in the past.
Me and my husband have been together for over 11 years, and we are always trying to work at our financial situation as a team. We all have different spending habits, and in a marriage it’s important to come together to see how your behaviors affect your marriage.
Working together is key for a happy relationship, especially when you want to meet your financial goals.
If your relationship is struggling because of financial differences, here are some steps that you may want to take.
Tips for happy marriage and finances:
Schedule regular money check ins.
A relationship that has regular money talks and budget meetings is more likely to be financially successful and happier than a relationship that doesn’t.
To be successful with your marriage and finances, it is a MUST to regularly check in and discuss money.
Regularly communicating about money is an important step for every relationship. Being open about your money situation can help prevent any surprises, it will ensure that both people in the relationship are aware of what’s going on, and so on.
Here are some of the ways for these check ins to help you with your marriage and finances:
- You can work together and succeed. If you are both putting effort towards your financial goals, you can tackle them as a team and are much more likely to have a positive outcome.
- Knowing your financial situation will help you keep a budget. Understanding your financial situation means you can create and keep a budget that works for the both of you. You will know more about the amount of money you are spending, whether you are living paycheck to paycheck, and more.
- Being aware may prevent everything from falling on one person. Everyone should be aware of their financial situation. It's not fair for one person to manage it all, and you would be in for a rude awakening if something were to happen to that person.
- Being involved can help you with your family's goals. It would be quite difficult for a person to work towards their family's financial goals if they weren't aware of their financial situation. Being involved will keep everyone motivated and aware of what's going on.
- Regular money talks can lead to less fighting. When you are open about money in your relationship, you are less likely to have financial surprises and money fights. This is because conducting regular money talks and budget meetings means you will both be aware of what’s going on.
Recommended reading: Family Budget Meetings – Yes, You Need To Have Them
Be open about money.
Talking about money is seen as taboo, even among married couples. According to a survey done by Fidelity, 43% of respondents don’t know how much their partner earns, and 36% are unaware of the amount they have invested.
You and your partner should sit down every so often, such as once a week, once a month, or whatever timeframe works best for the two of you.
To be open about your finances, your money meetings should include:
- Your financial goals, money values, and more.
- How the two of you are doing financially.
- What changes may need to be made.
- Any financial problems, and so on.
The key here is that both of you are up-to-date on what is going on with your marriage and finances so that everyone can work together on your family’s financial goals.
Always be honest.
According to an article on Forbes, 20% of those in the U.S. keep financial secrets, and 7% between the ages of 18-49 have a secret bank account or a secret credit card they keep from their partner.
Also, according to a survey taken by the National Endowment for Financial Education, 31% of survey takers admitted lying to their spouse about their finances. These aren't just little lies either, as most of the 31% stated that if their spouse found out about their lie, then a divorce may be on the horizon.
The problem with financial infidelity is that it can lead to even bigger financial problems (like debt piling up beyond what’s imaginable), stress, unhappiness, it may start impacting other areas of a person’s life (such as work), and it may even lead to divorce.
Unfortunately, it’s possible that you may already be a victim of financial infidelity. Here's how to recognize the signs of financial infidelity:
- There are no more bills in the mail. This could be a sign that someone is hiding the bills.
- There are calls from debt collectors. These may actually be legitimate calls!
- Your credit cards are being rejected. This could be a sign that someone is overspending without your knowledge.
- Your partner no longer wants to talk about money. This could be a sign that your partner is too afraid to talk about money with you because they fear that you will uncover the truth.
Set spending limits for each other.
Some couples tell each other about every single purchase they make, whether they buy something for $1 or if they buy something for $1,000.
Others only tell their spouse if they reach a certain amount, such as $100.
Whatever you decide, it's a good idea to sit down with your spouse and determine what kind of limits you should set for your specific situation.
Doing this can help keep the communication lines open with your marriage and finances so there are fewer arguments about money.
Is your partner bad with money? What marriage and finances advice or situations would you like to share?
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