Money is one of the top reasons for divorce, which means it’s one of the top categories couples argue about. I’m not sure if it’s because money has been such a taboo topic over the years, or maybe it’s because there are still stigmas attached to gender when it comes to money. Regardless, the bottom line is: If you’re married, you need to find a way to properly deal with your finances as a couple if you’re going to make things work. This is what my husband and I have done.
Tension often begins when one person is a spender and the other is a saver, or when couples haven’t laid out their financial priorities and they aren’t on the same page. For example, one of the biggest pitfalls I’ve seen in relationships is when a couple decides to join their finances and one of them has debt while the other has none. In this situation, I’ve seen couples tackle the debt of one spouse while bolstering the savings of another. The downfall here is that the spouse with the debt doesn’t feel like they are building any wealth and that the financial pitfalls of the relationship are their fault. Things are out of balance.
As couples, not only do you need to be committed to each other, you need to be committed financially. That means your money and your spouse’s money should be thought of as “ours,” not “his” or “hers.” Agree to put aside your past circumstances. We were all brought up in very different levels of financial privilege. Treat your debt as both of yours and agree to attack the debt together and pay it down as fast as you can.
While you’re doing this, make sure you’re also saving for both of your futures — not just the future of one person. You can keep it relatively even by putting the same amount of money into both of your savings accounts (assuming you each have one), or simply create a joint savings account.
More on Committing Financially: The 2 Simple Rules That Keep Us From Fighting About Money
Couples that focus on who owes more or who gets to save more each month will end up miserable and resentful. It’s important to act as a team in your relationship, as well as in your bank account.
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