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M & M: Money and Marriage

Contrary to popular belief, love of money is not the root of all evil, lack of money is. This issue is a major concern of most married couples today.  Believe it or not, eighty percent of divorces are the result of disagreements over money.  Though money and marriage may not be good topics to talk about together, the fact is -- marriages cannot go on without money; while money, fortunately or unfortunately, can very well exist on its own. 

The following are tips to improve marriage especially when money and finances are involved.
Learn each other’s spending styles

A couple is composed of two individuals with varying likes, dislikes and preferences, with differing financial lifestyles – e.g., one is a big spender while the other is a spendthrift; one is an impulsive buyer while the other likes to think things through; one prefers to deal with money matters now while the other wants to think about it over night.  These differences could cause friction and fights if the disparity is not appropriately resolved. 

It is best if a couple finds positive and creative ways to use each other’s unique styles to serve the interest of the marriage as well as their bank accounts.  Different does not have to mean conflict and a clash of methods in saving and spending.

Differences are varying ways of approaching problems and opportunities to solve these problems and using these opportunities to the best advantage.  

Spend on values

Couples must take the time and effort to get to know the values they would like to prioritize.  Values such as financial stability, companionship, freedom from debt, etc. are a few examples.  Partners should define these values and determine which are most valuable to them. 

Sharing details about each other’s financial capabilities and in-capabilities is essential.

It is important that couples mutually agree on what it is they want to focus on and from there decide how best to serve each other’s emotional wants and financial needs.

Have dates, will discuss

Money matters during dates used to be a no-no.  But now, discussing money issues during dates is a practical and wise decision.  It is a “no-frills” way to maintain honesty and transparency.  Conflicts may or may not be avoided during these discussions. The important thing is that disagreements must not in any way be the dominant factor in your relationship. 

Talk about sharing financial responsibilities.  Decide how much you must spend and on “what, which and how”. This could be a great way to settle differences, if there are any, and could even improve a couple’s relationship, especially after each has found out how open the other would be in handling finances.

Divide and conquer

Partners must distribute financial responsibilities to each other.  Their decisions should be based more on one another’s capabilities, means and interests than on outdated stereotypes based on gender.  A man was to bring “home the bacon” and the woman was to stay in the house to take care of the children. This scenario may or may not work in this day and age unless a couple finds this particular style actually is best for them.  What is important is that a couple’s uniqueness shines through and the financial lifestyle they decide on works best to their family’s advantage.

Share any events, especially financial ones with each other as well as make sure that important decisions are discussed and mutually agreed upon with the best interest of each other in mind.

Plan it then spend it

There are couples who plan what they spend i.e. budget. There are also couples who spend and then plan later.  The former is preferred over the latter.  Although it could feel a bit restraining, the value of planning ahead enables couples to know what they need more than what they want.  Planning also enhances a couple’s creativity as it forces them to think of innovative and often better ways to cover expenses that they have.  Planning also increases the chance of saving and decreases their spending.  This ensures their long-term enjoyment in their financial future.

Money and marriage should not be a source of conflict unless couples make it that.  All it takes is honesty, openness and genuine respect for each other’s capabilities to make money and marriage work.  And if couples wish it so, it will be. 

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