There’s a lot of misconception about money and marriage. It can certainly be a source of contention for many couples. Getting a handle on your finances and working together as a team can make a big difference in the health of your marriage. Here are some of the biggest myths about money that should be addressed within a marriage.
1. We shouldn’t talk about money because it will cause us to fight
If you can’t talk about money without fighting, it’s all the more reason why you should be talking about it. If you fight a lot about money, it means you haven’t resolved your differences about spending and saving. It’s essential that couples develop a budget and agree on financial goals.
If you don’t discuss your finances, your money problems won’t go away. In fact, they are likely to grow. However, many people to try to avoid facing the truth about their finances by avoiding the topic. Then, they only fight about it when there isn’t enough money to pay a bill or purchase something.
Take a proactive approach. Educate yourself about budgeting. It’s important to know how much money you make each month and to have a plan about how you will spend it.
2. As long as the bills are paid, we don’t need a budget
Every couple needs a budget, even those who aren’t in danger of falling behind on bills. Without a budget, it’s impossible to track where your money is going. A budget can help you set goals and work together on reaching your goals.
If you are fortunate enough not to have to worry about the bills each month, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay close attention to your spending habits. Over the course of your working life time, you’re likely to have a lot of money slip through your fingers and without a plan, it’s easy to have little to show for it.
For example, if you earn $40,000 each year for the 40 years that you are employed, you will have made $1.6 million dollars. Think of what you can do with that sort of money if you are careful with your spending habits. On the other hand, without a budget, you might spend all your money on impulse purchases and not have anything to show for it when you reach retirement age.
3. We don’t need to worry about retirement yet
It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Sometimes couples decide to invest later in life, thinking it is important to work on paying off the house or saving for college. However, the less time your money is invested, the less time you’ll have to earn a return on your investment.
Meet with a financial planner to discuss your retirement goals and needs. A financial planner can assist you with determining how much money to invest for retirement. Planning ahead can help secure your future and give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to live comfortably during your golden years.
4. We should have one of us designated to handle the money and bills
Although it can make sense to have one person who primarily handles paying the bills, both people need to be aware of account information and payments. Sadly, however, often one partner has no idea about how much money is in the bank or how much is pad for bills or even how to go about paying them.
At the very least, make sure that your spouse has access to online accounts. Provide a list of passwords and information needed in the even that you become ill, or worse yet, die. It is essential that your spouse is able to function financially without you. Therefore, make sure to plan for the worst with life insurance and ensuring your spouse has the knowledge and means to survive.
5. Keeping separate checking accounts is a good idea
Often, money means power and control in a relationship. Marriage means joining your lives and your checking accounts. However, sometimes people are reluctant to give up sole access to an account.
If you and your spouse want to truly be partners, it means sharing everything, especially your money. Often, a person’s money shows a lot about their heart. If you aren’t willing to share a checking account or savings account, ask yourself what sorts of fears you have.
Not sharing your accounts can sometimes be a symptom of a bigger underlying problem. For example, some people just don’t trust their spouse with their money. Another couple may keep separate accounts because they just can’t agree on how to spend the money. And another person may enjoy the freedom of having a separate account.
If you aren’t comfortable sharing your money, it’s important to examine the underlying reasons. Talk to your spouse about your concerns and discuss the pros and cons of keep separate accounts versus sharing. There are times when couples may decide it makes sense to keep separate accounts for convenience.
If you decide to keep separate accounts, make sure that you are open with another about your money and your spending habits. Secrecy with money can be very damaging to relationships.