3 Tips for Staying on the Same Financial Page with Your Spouse

The following is a guest post from Dan Carter, an Investment Advisor Representative for Safeguard Investment Advisory Group. Dan has 18 years experience in the insurance and estate planning industry.

Plenty of things can kill the romance in a relationship. But traditionally, money and all the complications that come with it sit near the top of the list.

I’ve worked with hundreds of married clients and have seen a lot of spending habits over the years, both good and bad. There’s no doubt that when the numbers in the bank account start dropping, the tempers can start flaring.

William Stitt | Unsplash

When my wife and I were planning our wedding, the minister declined to perform the ceremony unless they met with him three times beforehand. Guess what he talked about – money. He said money can cause a lot of problems in a marriage. When the wolves are at the door, couples stress, argue, and often break up.

Financial Decisions and Tension

In fact, 20 percent of couples say that financial decisions cause tension in their relationships every day, and 31 percent say money issues lead to stress weekly, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council.

The key is for couples to get on the same page about money, Carter says. Tensions can’t help but grow if one spouse is extraordinarily frugal while the other is a spendthrift. He suggests:

  • Sit down and talk about what is important. If a husband’s financial goals and a wife’s financial goals are at odds, trouble is inevitable. He might want to stash more away for retirement. Her chief concern might be saving enough to help the kids through college. The important thing is that each understands the other’s priorities and concerns, and then they can work from there.
  • Understand that there must be a balance. Some couples spend recklessly, racking up massive credit-card debt, while others go to the opposite extreme, fearful of parting with money for anything other than basic necessities. Be disciplined, but treat yourselves once in a while. An occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Couples can benefit from a dinner at a nice restaurant or a weekend trip to the beach. The problem is when splurging becomes the norm. But life shouldn’t just be one dreary chore after another. You do need to live a little.
  • Ignore the Joneses. Let your neighbors, relatives and co-workers do what they do, buying unnecessarily expensive cars, living in houses they can’t afford and traveling to exotic destinations that are really outside their budgets. Enjoy life, but live within your means.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of sayings about money, like ‘money can’t buy you love’ and ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ Those sayings may contain a little truth, but I’d say money also can be a useful tool, a very positive thing. If you use it wisely, it can enhance your life and your loved ones’ lives, too.

 

 

 

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

3 Comments

  1. I’m lucky to have met someone I can feel comfortable with, even when it comes to finances. We’ve had our ‘weird moments’ and few discussions about money lit up like fireworks on the 4th of July. But in the end we realized money shouldn’t be a reason to fight, money should make us happy, not mad.

    We have, more or less, the same long term goals. Which is great! Since we can actually work together as a team to get there 🙂

    • Sharing the same dreams and working toward the same goals is huge. Two people with different money agendas is a recipe for disaster. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, my friend.

  2. I love the idea of meeting with your minister to talk before marriage.

    Mr. Groovy and I did not discuss money much before marriage. We knew each other’s salaries and debts but we didn’t map out a financial plan. However, we also knew we shared the same values so in that sense it wasn’t just luck that put us on the same page. And that occasional splurge? We do it — but usually my arm needs a little twisting.

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