If you can’t help falling in love, and you think that love will keep you together remember that the power of love is not enough if you and your spouse cannot agree on how to handle your finances.
Ok, enough of the romantic puns!
According to Psychology Today*, money issues are the top reason relationships fail. Arguments over money tap into some of our deepest emotional needs and fears, such as trust, safety, security, power, control, and survival.
Couples in successful marriages have learned the skill of financial harmony in their relationships. Marriage commitment and healthy communications are maintained when couples have set guidelines and boundaries for their financial decisions. Understanding the value that each partner places on money, and respecting that both partners will have equal rights and responsibilities with control of the finances, will strengthen the marriage bonds.
DEFINE YOUR VALUES
It is important to have conversations about finances as early in your relationship as possible. Even if you have been married for years, it’s never to late to start that conversation.
Compare money experiences and share values and attitudes about money. Talk about how money was handled in each of your households growing up and how you view money today as a result.
It is not uncommon for opposite personality types to be attracted to each other. Some people regard money as security, becoming a saver, while others use money to make them feel happy and enjoy the spending. Respect each other’s point of view and use each other’s strengths to build a solid financial plan.
Money issues can cause feelings of shame, fear and isolation but if you truly want to trust someone, and have them trust you, you will need to be open about your finances. Lay your cards on the table and discus your financial positions openly. Disclose how much is owed on credit cards, outstanding debt, financial obligation, income sources and investments.
DEFINE GROUND RULES
When you are in a committed relationship it’s important that you lay out financial ground rules. Determine how much you want to spend on necessities like food, housing and utilities in addition to entertainment and vacations. Remember that budgeting for savings is just as important as budgeting for entertainment.
You both also need to agree at what price point you are going to talk to each other about a purchase, and when it’s acceptable to just spend money as you see fit.
Determine who will be responsible for monthly financial maintenance such as monitoring statements, paying bills and transferring funds. Someone also needs to be designated to keep track of long term goals by reviewing retirement fund balances, researching future investment commitments and making sure you have adequate insurance protection.
No matter who is responsible for any role it is vital to keep communication open by having scheduled monthly discussions to keep each partner updated on mutual decisions.
Determine the goals you want to achieve together and what sacrifices you both are willing to make to achieve those goals. Look at both short term goals for the upcoming year in addition to long term goals that may take 30 years to achieve.
BUILD A PLAN
Once you have all the individual pieces defined it’s time to put them together and build a plan that will achieve your goals. Couples who don’t have a written plan aren’t likely to meet their goals.
Life happens and priorities change so it is also vitally important to do a reality check every year to make sure the financial plan is still on track or if adjustments need to be made.
At Kuderer Financial we work with couples to help them get on the same page with their finances, to create their family’s financial plan and to do yearly reviews to stay on track. Contact us today to take the financial stress out of your marriage and get your future goals on track.