Money issues are the number one cause of marital disagreements. This is because people enter marriage with very different experiences of spending, saving, and giving. When there are conflicts over finances, the use of pronouns is very important during money discussions.
Us or We
In a marriage, there is no “my money” and “your money” or “my debts” and “your debts.” There is only our money and our debts. “My” and “mine” are easy to say but carry a lot a weight, especially when talking about a paycheck or assets.
You Are One
In a marriage two people become one, so the financial assets and incomes of both spouses should be merged. It is beneficial to operate from a unified financial management base, rather than from separate and independent checking accounts. Joint accounts (such as from PerkStreet Financial) encourage regular communication about finances, fosters unity in money matters, and there is no conflict or administrative work in “splitting up the bills.” That being said, there are some situations that call for keeping at least some funds separate, such as estate planning and liability protection.
The best way to manage your finances is together. If you haven’t already started, it is time for monthly budgets. There is good information available at Crown.org or DaveRamsey.com (check out Dave’s 7 Baby Steps). Both programs focus on keeping your spending below your income. Even with a budget, you will need to communicate weekly to know how much is left in the “grocery category” or the “entertainment category.” Also create annual financial goals and review your net worth together each year.
In order to work together you will need to be educated together. Take a financial course together, like Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey or Journey to Financial Freedom by Crown Financial Ministries. If a class won’t work in your schedule at least read a few books together for inspiration, such as “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko or “Smart Couples Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner” by David Bach. Another option is find some friends that would like to work on their finances and hold each other accountable through regular meetings. The more help you can get the better your success.
Do you catch yourself saying “my” or “your” too much in your marriage? Do you think it’s a big deal? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
This was a guest post by Adam Obrecht, CFP®, the owner and founder of AO Wealth Advisory in Waukee, Iowa. His life passion is helping individuals, families and businesses maximize what they earn, invest wisely, and give generously to their family, charities, and community.
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