When it comes to marriage and money, arguing over how to handle the monthly finances is hardly a new topic. Yes, studies show that out of most of the instances of conflict between married couples, money was the most salient and repetitive topic they argued about. The topic of money may cause arguments, discomfort, embarrassment, and sore feelings between partners. Especially if they do not have the same sensibilities on how to save, spend, and budget their finances. This can put stress on the marriage and lead to a decline in marital satisfaction and in some cases, divorce. Want to know how to talk about money as a couple? Below are 5 tips to help solve the financial crisis couples are facing today, and help figure out how to talk about money as a couple effectively.
5 Tips on How to Talk About Money as a Couple
Whether one or both partners are contributing to the household income, couples must work as a team. This can help them figure out the best way to handle their long-term financial planning.
1. Money Matters: Split or Shared Finances?
When you marry someone, it’s important to discuss your financial plans as quickly as possible. You have to know how to talk about money as a couple in order to be successful. One of the best places to start is deciding whether you will split or share your finances. Will you have separate or shared bank accounts?
There are benefits to both sides. Having a shared account will give you a clearer picture of how much you are both spending and what is getting paid. However, some couples choose to keep a level of independence by maintaining separate finances.
Discuss your bank accounts, discuss your earnings, and be honest about any debts that you may be carrying into the marriage.
2. Learn to Communicate as a Couple
Another effective tip on how to talk about money as a couple is to be able to effectively communicate. A report by Acorns found that 68% of couples surveyed said they would rather reveal how much they weigh than talk about how much money they had in their savings account.
Talk about a sore subject.
One of the biggest problems couples face in a new marriage is the inability to talk about their finances. Yet, finances affect many aspects of a marriage such as whether they
- buy a home,
- how their credit score affects their car payments or loan abilities,
- whether or not to start a family, travel, get a pet, or
- pursue personal business goals.
So, why are couples so reluctant to talk about money?
Simply put, it’s awkward.
Some couples may disagree on how to budget money or have different ideas about spending on credit cards or making personal purchases. It can also be uncomfortable if there are noticeably uneven earnings between partners.
Communication is the key ingredient to a healthy marriage. It has been shown to improve marital satisfaction rates and deepen romantic connections. It can also help ease the discomfort of financial struggles.
You and your spouse must be able to talk to one another openly about your finances, and online marriage courses can help you do this. It will teach you how to become vulnerable and discuss your thoughts and feelings. In turn, this creates a sense of partnership that can help you tackle your financial goals.
3. Create and Stick to a Budget
When it comes to tips on how to talk about money as a couple, a budget is necessary. Taking an online marriage course can help couples create shared goals and learn to work as a team when it comes to their finances. This is incredibly helpful when sitting down and deciding on a budget.
When beginning to budget, couples should make notes of their communal monthly income, existing debts, and other expenses such as bills, dining out or buying groceries.
Once you have a list of categories established, set a dollar limit to each category. For example:
- Monthly bills and rent/mortgage – $2000
- Monthly grocery allowance – $600
- Car maintenance/gas – $200
- Monthly savings – $150
And the list goes on. Be sure to plan for unexpected expenses such as medical appointments or household maintenance.
Once you establish and agree on a budget, couples should take care to stick to their budget. You can use
- the envelope method, or
- a simple pen and notebook to track your monthly budgeting.
4. Talk About a Long-Term Plan
Another key ingredient overcoming the financial crisis in marriage is to discuss it regularly. Start off by creating a long-term plan. Ideas for this include:
- If/when to start a family and how to budget for it
- Making a goal of saving 10% of your income
- Retirement planning
- Saving for big purchases (house, travel, school)
- How to invest
Have a monthly marriage meeting where you sit down and go over your bills, debts, savings, and overall budget. Discuss the positive progress you have made and congratulate each other on your progress and celebrate when you reach your goals, such as paying off debts or accumulating a certain amount in your savings.
It is also important to discuss the areas of your budgeting that could use improvement. Practice makes perfect, and when it comes to your finances, there is always room to grow. Putting a time limit on this session can make your meeting much more comfortable since both partners know they only have X amount of time to discuss these potentially stressful matters.
Speak respectfully to one another during these meetings. You are a team, not enemies. Attack the problem at hand, not each other.
5. Have an Emergency Fund as a Couple
Complications can happen in life and you never know what may come your way. Illness, sudden loss of a job, and other economic setbacks can leave partners in financial straits. This is where having an emergency fund comes into play.
Make it a goal to put away X amount of dollars until you have a significant nest egg. Once you have reached the dollar goal for your emergency fund, begin putting these monthly earnings into another savings account. Having an emergency fund tucked away will help relieve the stress and financial burden that comes with unexpected changes in circumstances.
How to Talk About Money as a Couple – Don’t Ignore It
It is important to know how to talk about money as a couple. Don’t let disagreements about money put your marriage on the rocks. By following this advice and taking an online marriage course, you will boost your marital communication and learn to work as a team.
Sylvia Smith is a writer who likes to write about relationships and how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. She is currently associated with Marriage.com. She is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships. By taking purposeful and intentional action, Sylvia feels any relationship or marriage can be transformed and truly enjoyed.
AUTHOR LaTia Longuemire
My name is LaTia Longuemire. I enjoy writing, singing, and cooking in my spare time. My passion is helping others. At this stage in my lifetime, I'm primarily focused on my children. They are everything that keeps my world spinning.