Money. It can be a complicated thing. Especially for couples (and certainly for recently or soon-to-be married couples). Since we’re in the middle of wedding season, we’ve put together a few tips to help you have a successful money marriage and cash in on communication, transparency and teamwork. Here we go!
Why so complicated?
A 2016 University of Wisconsin study of 100 married couples over a 15-day period found that while money wasn’t the most common source of arguments, it was the hardest to resolve (and by far had the biggest repercussions). So, what makes money so complicated in the first place?
Ultimately, there is a lot of passion and work that goes into money. Not only does it offer a form of validation in the work that we do, but when it comes to couples, it can also signify – whether true or not – who’s made more sacrifices, who works longer hours, etc. This, in part, is the reason it becomes so difficult for couples to navigate. Not because it’s the most frequent problem, but because conversations over money (e.g., who’s spending what, whose money is used for what), are the most frequent conversations that are left unresolved.
The money talk.
While it may sound daunting at first, this is a major factor in ensuring you two stay on the same page … and can also help hold everyone accountable. Openly discussing salary, goals and what each partner is comfortable spending, saving, etc., will let you both know where the other stands and allows you to set goals and guidelines from there.
A few money moves.
So, what can you do right now? Maybe you’ve been married for decades and could use some work on your financial marriage. Or, maybe you just got married last week and want to get started on the right foot. Here are a few tips that could help:
- Joint bill accounts: Create a joint checking account for bills that you both contribute to. That’s only fair, right? This creates a feeling of teamwork and that you’re both pulling your own weight.
- Automatic contributions: Set up auto-pay for long-term goals (e.g., college savings, retirement contributions, etc.). This will help you rest easy as you “check the boxes” and make sure you’re using your money for long-term goals, too.
- Spending cash (not credit): Each partner should have some. Take the time to set up a budget and come to an agreement on an equal amount for spending or “fun” cash for each partner.
Pro tip: Whatever amount you allot each other, withdraw that just in case, so you know you don’t overspend. Getting back in touch with a dollar bill is never a bad thing.
We now pronounce you happily money married. Try these tips as you navigate your new financial life together and keep coming back to the Money Smarts blog for more financial resources.