Couples face enough challenges already, just with the everyday stresses of cohabitation, not to mention the added weight of making sensible financial decisions together.
It seems that getting on the same page with your finances is essential for any couple, especially since it seems to be a major source of arguments.
In fact, couples fight about money twice as much as they fight about sex, according to a Money Magazine survey. The American divorce rate is nearly twice what it was in 1960, though it has declined somewhat since hitting an all-time high in 1980. This decline suggests a higher rate of marital stability, due to both a higher age of first marriage as well as the reservation of marriage for the economically stable.
A recent study revealed that less than half of American households share their financial management responsibilities. The survey showed that the majority of respondents opt to manage money all on their own, while a joint effort to manage expenses leads to emotional and fiscal satisfaction more often than not.
That’s not to say that one member of the household shouldn’t manage the finances. Most couples designate one person to do just that. The issue becomes a problem when the other member leaves it all to their mate and doesn’t bother with any involvement beyond that. In other words, they just check out and assume it’s all being taken care of.
This can be dangerous in a financial setting. By not taking part in the management of your finances, you’re leaving yourself open to a world of problems and stresses. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to have a weekly finance meeting around the family boardroom (the kitchen table), but it does mean that you need to communicate and keep yourself updated on the financial wellness of your household.
Here are some tips to get on the same financial page with your partner:
This would be a good piece of advice to couples on any subject but especially with money. Never hide or lie about a single dollar of spending. This includes getting that special item on sale and “rounding down” to make it sound less expensive than it actually was. Or coming home from the local bar and saying you only had two drinks when you really bought dinner and a round of drinks for all of your colleagues.
Talk about your financial goals often - and in detail. It’s vital to sit down and coordinate your future plans with regard to finances. Think about it. If you’re not working together toward a common goal, then chances are you’re at odds with one another to some degree.
You’re hopefully going to grow old together. Start planning for it now. Retirement savings plans are easily accessible and are worth every penny you stash away when you’re sitting on that cruise ship smiling at one another, sipping on a Mai Tai.
Start a savings account together and an emergency fund. Invest together. Do it now. You’ll be glad you did.
Live within your means
You don’t need to live in a giant mansion, nor do you need the latest shiny fancy car. It’s nice to have nice things, but if those things are beyond your means, do not fall for the consumer trap of going deep into debt to keep up with the Joneses - rather save your money. Spend less than you earn, and avoid the stress of trying to juggle expensive bills that you can’t afford.
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