As you are probably aware one of the biggest reasons couples divorce is due to financial problems. It is not only lack of money that can be an issue, but also each of your spending habits that can cause many an argument. Avoid any potential pitfalls in your relationship by getting clear up front before the problems start.
Be Honest About Any Current Debt Either Of You Has Upfront.
While it is tempting to want to keep your past indiscretions with money a secret, this is vitally important! Do not have your future spouse find out the hard way (and unfortunately they will find out) that you owe a lot more or have a much worse credit score than they are aware of. Especially in today’s economy, your current debt or credit score will come into play when it comes to making any major purchases such as a house, a new car, credit card interest rates and more. It is better to simply suck it up for 5 minutes and just tell them the truth than to go through years of agony of trying to hide it. Not to mention how devastating it would be to lose your partner’s trust in the future if you end up blindsiding them.
Discuss Upfront How You Will Handle Your Finances In The Future.
Will the two of you pool all of your money together and do all of your spending from that account, or will you each maintain your own accounts and then one joint account that you each contribute to pay all the monthly bills?
How Much Will Each Person Be Responsible For Contributing?
If one person is earning a lot more than the other, discuss who will be responsible for what expenses. Maybe the person with the higher income will be responsible for the mortgage and insurance and the person with the lower salary will pay the utilities. Decide up front in exact dollar amounts how much should be put into the joint account monthly to ensure all expenses are covered.
Be Clear Of Who Exactly Will Be In Charge Of Physically Paying The Bills.
There is nothing worse than getting an overdue notice with late charges in the mail and thinking that your partner paid the bill while they thought that you paid it. Make it clear right from the start, who is in charge of paying what and write it down so both of you are aware of it.
Write All Expenditures In A Place Where Both Of You Can See It.
When my husband and I were first married we both agreed that I would handle all of the bill paying, because balancing checkbooks wasn’t exactly his thing, and I was pretty much a fanatic over it. Problems started to arise however during times when money was tight and he would ask me angrily “Well, where is all the money going – we should be making more than enough!?” If you have ever been there, you will know that during an argument or when put on the spot it is very difficult to remember every cent that was spent and what it was spent on.
There were many times these discussions made me feel guilty or angry as if I had done something wrong, even though I knew I hadn’t. The easy solution was to simply write down every expense at the end of the day when I came home. What the bill was for, the amount it was for and the date it was paid. I included everything in this list such as all utility bills, dry cleaning expenses, food shopping costs, e-zpass payments, gas for the car, presents and gifts for occasions, etc. Eventually my husband got in the habit of writing his expenses each day on the list as well. This solution ended up working wonderfully, because now we were both aware of exactly where all of the money was going and we also ended up having a list to help both of us decide what expenses to cut down on during the tougher months.
Discuss What Extra Expenses Each Of You Has Going In.
Discuss how much money each of you uses to maintain your current lifestyle and how much of an allowance you will need in the future. If he currently has a yearly gym membership and spends at least one night out a week with the guys, don’t assume that being married should change that. The same goes for her if she always gets her nails and hair done. You are marrying that person for who and what they are now. Problems will occur immediately if you suddenly act like you consider their expenses “frivolous”.
Remember That You Are a Team.
Most importantly of all, remember that the two of you are in this together. Financial strains can make even the best of us strike out at the ones we love. Keep in mind that fighting or accusing each other is not going to solve the problem, but working together to find solutions will end up bringing you even closer.