Some of the worst marital problems are caused by a lack of communication about finances. Rather than combining forces, some spouses sit on opposite sides of the money board from each other.
Spouses need to follow a mutually agreed upon strategy in order to achieve their fiscal goals and reach their golden years together.
For newlyweds: What are you both bringing into your marriage?
Consider the assets and debts you each bring into the marriage. If this is a second marriage, these questions become even more crucial as you may have inherited assets from your deceased spouse or received a share of your holdings through a divorce settlement. Start off married life by being totally open about your assets and how you can best use them.
Who is in charge?
You may want to divide the household expenses and bills between you. On the other hand, you may both agree that one of you is specifically responsible for making sure that all bills are paid and dealing with the bank. Perhaps the other partner prefers not to be too involved in day-to-day money management. That’s not a problem; but whatever you do, both of you must make these decisions together. In a healthy marriage, one partner should not have total control over the spending or income of the other. If cash flow needs to be monitored, make your overall budgeting decisions together.
It’s a date
Get together regularly to define your financial goals and review to see if you are on the right track. Are you meeting your savings goals? Do you need to reallocate your spending? By making decisions together, your financial security will strengthen as well as your general communication.
We’ve been married for years and we don’t do this. Help!
Even if your current financial situation or financial communication isn’t ideal, don’t despair! Change is possible!
Start off by asking each other what you both really want. How does each of you envision your financial future? What are your life goals? How can you both change your financial situation for the better?
By opening the lines of communication, hopefully both your money and your marriage will grow!
Douglas Goldstein, co-author of Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You A Grandmaster of Investing, is an avid chess fan, international investment advisor and Certified Financial Planner (CFP®).