Money misconceptions run rampant in most marriages. Multiply one mistake by two people and what you’ll get is a recipe for disaster. Communication is key for a sustaining a marriage and a healthy bank account. Sometimes all it takes is a little education so if you’re married and struggling, try implement these strategies.
Secrets Lead to Setbacks
Any marriage counselor will tell you that secrets can silently kill a marriage. The same reigns true for your finances. Once you enter into holy matrimony, you have an obligation to be open and honest about all transactions which have the potential to affect your partner. Liberate your financial demons early on in the relationship. If you’re buried in student loans or credit card debt, it’s best to inform your partner. If they can’t accept you (and your debt), the relationship might not be destined to survive.
Merging debt is not the route to financial freedom. You’re more than encouraged to create a joint account with your partner for monthly expenses but avoid marrying your debt. Combining your debt has the potential to exacerbate your credit and stick you with a heavy load if the marriage doesn’t last for the long haul.
Lay Out Ground Rules
No one likes rules but they have their place in business affairs. Couples should have a serious discussion about budgeting, first and foremost. Sit down together and evaluate how much money you can afford to spend on common expenses like food, gas, and utilities. Then based on that number you can determine your disposable income for entertainment, activities, and events.
Estate Planning and Emergency Expenses
Unexpected expenses are just that—unexpected. Have a clear plan set up in case of emergencies with health, career, or kids. This includes writing up a living will and/or asset distribution. It’s crucial to think of worst case scenarios so that you can be prepared and ready to act if they occur. Health emergencies are some of the most expensive bills. A trip to the E.R. alone can cost you thousands of dollars and doctors tend to perform many tests which come at a high cost to the patient. Unfortunately, this is how many people fall into the grips of credit card debt.
Being prepared with a classified paperwork system can be your biggest asset. What if your partner becomes incapacitated and is unable to tell you where the important documents are located? When trouble strikes, the best defense is a plan.
To conclude, marriage is a serious decision which takes serious planning on both halves. Communicate openly about everything from grocery shopping to emergency scenarios, lay out clear ground rules, and never ever merge your debt.