The sanctimony of marriage is a beautiful thing, isn't it? Well, at least it is until finances get in the way. Along with infidelity, troubles with money are right up there as the primary reason people get divorced. But there's no need for your marriage to come to a grinding halt over finances. We've put this guide together to ensure that money issues in marriage are something you never have to worry about.
Whose money is it anyway?
When you're single, managing finances is reasonably straightforward: what's yours is yours, and there's no need to discuss how to spend money. When it comes to marriage, however, the situation is entirely different, and there's no set way to approach it.
Some couples split everything down the middle and open a joint account to pay for things like utility bills and the mortgage. Others operate on a policy of splitting bills but keeping everything else they earn to themselves.
For some, sharing everything they bring in works; others prefer to keep their money. If you opt for the latter, avoid spending resentment further down the line if one partner makes significantly more than the other.
This can hinder long-term goals, such as saving for a property, or it might even see one spouse hiding money from the other. Whichever way you decide to handle money as a couple, ensure that you are both completely transparent about the best way to move forward with your finances.
Hear no money, see no money
So what happens if you're not transparent and honest about money situations? It leads to scenarios where neither couple likes talking about finances, and everything is essentially swept under the rug. Taking this approach is a short-term fix that will likely lead to long-term money issues in marriage for you and your partner.
Money doesn’t need to be a taboo subject. No matter what your money issues are–be it debt, poor investment, or just discussing your money goals–it’s always better to talk about it instead of ignoring the problem.
Set aside time to talk openly about money. You’ll likely find that you’re both on the same page and can think strategically about your financial future. You’re a team now, so it’s time to start tackling money together.
Don't think seriously about investing
The majority of married couples open savings accounts and think about their investments, but the approach they take might be open for debate. Ultimately, you both want to save money together and build for the future, which is why it’s helpful to understand different investment types and investment concepts.
Do you focus on IRAs, or should you invest in real estate? Are stocks and bonds a serious option, or do you opt for a permanent life insurance policy that lets you build wealth while you're still alive (more on that in a bit)? Or maybe it's a bit of everything?
No matter the route you go down, setting yourselves up for the future can mitigate any potential issues later in life as you're well prepared financially. So while savings and investments might not directly impact a strong marriage, they can help you lay the foundations for many years ahead.
Hide those expensive things you keep buying
This one goes without saying, really. Buying expensive items–like that 8k TV which cost $9,000–without consulting the other half probably wasn't the smartest thing you’ve ever done. Keep up that kind of attitude, and it’s a one-way ticket to money issues in marriage, with the divorce papers following suit.
These kinds of purchases can lead to unnecessary long-term debt, especially if you’re not in a financial situation to pay for them. And even if you are, there’s an argument to be had that resources could be used better, such as on family purchases or savings.
Not being transparent with finances is one of the biggest marriage killers, so sit down and have a discussion before you purchase any lavish items. Your marriage will be stronger for it, and who knows? You might find that you both agree there’s no other way to watch The Bachelor than in glorious 8k resolution.
Infidelity isn't just related to sexual exploits; not being honest about finances can quickly ruin a marriage, with trust eroding in the process. Things like secret bank accounts, undisclosed debt, and those pesky hidden purchases can all contribute to a marriage ending.
Financial indefinitely is most likely to occur later in a marriage, after years of built-up financial tension. It’s often the result of poor communication and different ideals about spending money.
It doesn’t need to be an issue, though, and everything harks back to transparency. Having conversations together and being understanding of each other is likely to lead to better financial outcomes and a stronger marriage.
Bonus: How you can boost your marriage with a life insurance policy
Ok, so enough about how to end your marriage. What about making it stronger? A life insurance policy isn’t something you would necessarily associate with being a marriage booster, but it can cover you both in life and in death, adding an extra layer of financial security in the process.
With a permanent life insurance policy, you can build wealth while you’re still alive and set up a significant death benefit to look after your spouse. That’s because perm coverage has something called cash value, which allows you to grow your wealth tax-free and access it in your older years. Therefore, you and your partner can start thinking about saving and building wealth together for your family while safeguarding against unforeseen circumstances.
So do you go for a joint policy or set up coverage as individuals? Believe it or not, but life insurance is the one time when doing things separately as a married couple is probably more beneficial. A joint policy can have complications over receiving the death benefit when one person passes.
Individual policies, however, are straightforward. You can name each other as the beneficiary, so there are no problems with receiving the death benefit should one of you pass away. It protects the other half if you pass and also gives financial security to your children.
When mishandled, money can ruin your marriage. But when it's done right, it can also help you and your partner build something important together. By being open and transparent about all things finances, you can set yourself up for a long, happy marriage and build for the future by making smart financial decisions.