There’s been the whirlwind romance, the magical proposal, and the fairytale wedding. But now that the big day is over, you need to make sure that your marriage stays on track. One of the biggest reasons for problems between couples is down to worries about finance.
Finances in marriage can be more complicated than when you only have yourself to think about. You now have to take into account someone else’s opinions and priorities about money. These may not always match up with your own.
But fear not. We have distilled years of wisdom about how to manage your money without ruining your relationship into one easy-to-read article. Read on…
Let’s talk money
It’s important that you are able to talk to your partner about finances. Even if you choose not to have a joint account, you are now living as one household. This means that you both need to know when and how to pay the bills. You should also both have an idea of the cost of household expenses.
While it can be a good idea for one person to take the lead on managing bills, you both need to be involved. Otherwise, this could lead to resentment if one person feels that they are paying more than their fair share.
Racking up debt without your partner’s knowledge can be a big issue. You and your partner should agree in advance about how you will use credit cards and loans. If you need to make a big purchase, always talk it through first so that you’re both fully informed.
On the other hand, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your partner’s debt is not your issue. If possible, try and both get a handle on your debts before the wedding.
But if this can’t be done, it is best that you are both on board with trying to pay off any debt as soon as possible. Get a plan in place for how to work together to do this.
Hey big spender!
Spending beyond what you can afford is problematic in any situation. When you are married, it is important that you have an idea of how much it is reasonable for you to spend before you should discuss it with your partner.
For example, that £10 spent in the DVD store may be perfectly fine, but £2000 on a new TV to watch the DVDs is probably pushing it a bit far for most couples.
However, being too tight with the purse strings can also cause a problem. Keeping track of every penny each other spends can cause stress and strain in the relationship.
Often in a marriage, you will find that one person is more of a spender and the other is more of a saver. It’s essential to talk to each other so that you can try and find a balance between each other’s financial styles.
Stashing money away without telling your partner can damage the trust between you. While it may seem fairly harmless, it can be hurtful to the other person if they find out you have a secret savings account.
In a 2018 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, 75 per cent of people surveyed said that financial deception had had an adverse effect on their relationship.
If you earn enough money to be able to put some away in a savings account each month, this is a great way of planning for the future. But make sure that you do it in collaboration with your partner.
Building up a savings fund together could help you to budget for unexpected expenses. It could also help you to plan for future needs, such as starting a family. Have a read of our article ‘Are you ready for the cost of having a baby?’ to find out more about saving for a new arrival. You could also check out our 11 handy money saving tips for ‘Family budgeting’.
Don’t be emotional about money
Finances can be an emotive subject. It’s understandable to be upset if you’ve worked hard to build up some savings and then your partner wants to spend it all on a new car which you don’t agree you need. But try to keep your emotions under control when discussing money with your partner.
Never turn household finances into something that is used against your partner in an argument. Making your partner feel ashamed of their income or spending habits will cause mistrust to form in your marriage.
Try to approach your joint finances from a business- like perspective. Work towards an agreement that is in the best interests of the marriage. This is likely to mean that you both have to compromise at times. Make sure that it is not always the same person having to back down as this is unfair and could lead to resentment.
Communication is key
Communication is fundamental to so many aspects of a marriage. Finances in a marriage is no different. It is vital that you and your partner are able to talk to each other about money in a reasonable and sensible manner.
Getting the balance right between spending and saving may take some working out. But it will be worth it. Start a conversation with your partner today about how you can work together financially for your future together.