Begin Free Online Ordination

Marriage and MoneyIt’s no secret that conflict over money matters can jeopardize a relationship. In a Cashlorette survey, 48% of respondents revealed that they argued with their partners over money. It’s also a major contributing factor in divorces. Marketwatch mentions key findings from a TD Ameritrade survey. Around 41% of Generation X and 29% of Baby Boomers split over money disagreements.

Many of us don’t learn money management growing up, so we struggle to make sense of it as adults. But marriage and money together create an even more complex picture. We aren’t pledging to pay our spouses’ student loan debts or stand by them through their shopping addictions…or are we? How do we contribute to a relationship’s financial success? Understanding some common pitfalls can help you navigate them and create a strong future together.

Common Marital Money Issues

As Investopedia mentions, many try sharing the load by equitably splitting household bills. But circumstances can change. Layoffs, schooling, parenting, disability, and other things can alter the financial picture. These can reduce a household’s total income, so the couple must adjust to getting by with less.

Situations like these can lead to income inequity and power imbalances. The spouse who makes more may try to control the household's finances. Bad intentions aren't always involved. Some higher-earning spouses believe that they have better insight into family finances. But this can also put a couple’s financial health and relationship at risk.

Debt and spending patterns often impact marriages. Existing liabilities could put stress on both partners. And when one has a lot more debt than the other, these tensions may grow. Partners may also have different philosophies about how to handle money. Spenders and savers can clash, even if their approaches aren’t opposite extremes from each other.

Extended family can cause money disputes or exacerbate existing problems. Like other financial issues, these usually stem from conflicting priorities. One spouse may gift money to family members while the couple struggles to pay off debts. And financial contributions from well-off family members can be a sticking point, too.

Costly Mistakes To Avoid

Couples face a variety of financial challenges. Yet while each situation is unique, many money mix-ups are symptoms of bigger problems. According to PolicyGenius editor Hanna Horvath, these mistakes can stem from one of three causes:

  • Contrasting approaches to money
  • Not managing finances together
  • Dishonest and secretive spending

Getting and staying on the same page about finances can eliminate these problems or catch them early on. And that involves communication. That’s why Bankrate suggests having the money talk early in your relationship. Even before moving in together or getting engaged, you need to know each other’s money philosophy and priorities. It’s also wise to develop a working budget for dates – this can help you learn how to collaborate on financial matters.

Talking is a start, but your efforts shouldn’t end there. Money is an emotionally loaded topic, so don’t wait until you’re angry to discuss it. Use a calm approach and don’t focus on criticism and fault-finding. Appreciating each other’s strengths can help avoid rising tensions and finger-pointing. Above all else, transparency is critical. Not disclosing spending or debt erodes trust, which is a vital foundation of any relationship. And rebuilding that trust can be tough once it’s broken.  

Planning and Diligence for Financial Health

It’s easy to underestimate how money impacts romantic relationships. Marriage often amplifies existing concerns. Couples promise to love and support each other through the best and worst of life, including financial ups and downs. But what does that mean? One thing is certain: Couples need a unified approach to money management. Communication, accountability, and collaboration are all essential to a solid financial partnership.

Category: Marriage

money relationships finance

Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.
You may alternatively login with your credentials, below.