3 Tips for a Financially Happy Marriage
If you’re planning a wedding this year, you’re likely thinking about where you’ll hold the reception, how many guests will attend, and what you’ll wear. However, one important detail that shouldn’t slip through the cracks is how you and your future spouse will merge finances. Here are the key ingredients for a happy financial marriage.
Effective communication will help you and your spouse weather financial storms. One tool that can help you communicate about financial matters is sitting down for a monthly or quarterly meeting where you go over your household finances. This will give you both an opportunity to see if there are any money drains that need to be addressed. You can also use this time to discuss major purchases. Financial experts Bethany and Scott Palmer said smooth communication can help ease money conflicts. “… Most of us have very strong, deeply ingrained ideas about how and when we use our money—and since money impacts nearly every decision we make in our lives, those ideas come into play several times a day. When those ideas clash, most couples have no idea what to do … We believe that when couples know how to communicate about money, they can prevent those clashing ideas from destroying their relationships,” said the Palmers.
There will come a time when you and your partner will have trouble agreeing on a financial matter. You’ll need to be willing to make compromises (within reason), so that you can live harmoniously. One compromise you may have to make is how to handle banking. Will you have one joint account or separate accounts? Will you have a combination of the two? Before you tie the knot you may want to meet and figure out what you will and won’t budge on when it comes to finances as a couple. This will help lessen the chance of unpleasant surprises. “Married couples should try different ways of handling the money to see what works for them,” Certified Financial Planner Ginita Wall told Key Bank.
Remaining open and honest about finances is important so you can avoid arguments and prepare for events that will affect your household finances. Hiding information is not only dishonest but could also prevent you from getting the financial help you need. Certified Financial Planner Frederick “Rick” Fisher says it’s important to be transparent with your spouse about general money matters as well as financial hardships so you can work on a solution together. “Whether you’re married or you live together, have a joint account or separate bank accounts, it’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to large expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. Studies show that around 49% of financial arguments are about unexpected expenses. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid such confrontations,” said Fisher.