Talking about money is an integral part of any couple’s long-term success. Talking about money together will ensure that you’re creating a joint vision, are on the same page, and can pursue your shared and individual goals in life. Additionally, couples that talk about money regularly and productively will avoid many problems and help build stronger relationships.
Money Is Emotional
Have you ever stopped to think about what money is? Some define it as a medium of exchange. Those with a historical understanding will add that real money is also a store of value. But what is it for the average person? For some, it is a feeling of security. For others a way to achieve their dreams, and for others, it is power. When a couple gets married, they may have very different views on money because of how their family feels about it. A spouse from a family with money struggles will have very different feelings about money than a spouse from a wealthy family. Every couple should talk about money early in their relationship to ensure they are pointed in the same direction.
To Create a Joint Vision
You may have very different ideas about what constitutes success in life. However, suppose you never talk about money and your goals. One spouse may view success as living frugally and having a large nest egg. The other spouse may feel money is to live for the moment, have a great time, and not worry about tomorrow. By talking about some common financial goals you share, it can be possible to make some short and long-term goals that address each of your money beliefs.
However, you won’t know if you don’t talk about it. Therefore, it is wise to discuss these issues before getting married. For example, you may envision getting married and buying a large house with some acreage. However, your spouse would rather live in an apartment or a condo to reduce maintenance costs.
To Ensure You’re on The Same Page
If you want to ensure you’re both on the same page about a goal, talking about it can only help. Even if you don’t want the same things, understanding why it’s vital to the other spouse can go far in helping make it something you value also. In addition, when you understand the “why” behind your spouse’s goal, it will be more like to arrive at a satisfactory outcome for both.
To Pursue Shared Goals in Life
Shared life goals are an essential part of marriage. Saving for the future so you can travel or check things off your bucket list is a wonderful way to plan your finances. Dreams give you both something to work for and plan for in the future.
To Meet Individual Life Goals
Even though you combine your incomes, you each likely have your own goals. For example, one of you wants to go to graduate school or start their own business. Discussing this through finances is a good way to ensure that all your goals can be met together.
To Avoid Problems
If you never talk about money, 20 years can go by without either of you paying attention. As a result, you may wind up with no savings, a lot of debt, and no future. However, the consequences can be much worse than that. Having 15 years in collections, I’ve seen the worst-case scenarios. It’s not uncommon for people to lose their cars and homes, file bankruptcy, and even get divorced because of not being accountable to one another over finances.
Many couples leave control of the finances to one spouse because handling finances money stresses the other out. This arrangement could work fine for some couples, but I’ve seen it go horribly wrong. The spouse that didn’t want to be involved with the finances found out too late about the other spouse’s indiscretion: gambling, excessive shopping, or infidelity. When both spouses follow the money, it can help remove temptation.
On the other hand, money and finances can be a power struggle for some couples, especially if both spouses work. One spouse may feel the other spouse is trying to control the money that they earn. This is why it is vital to talk about money and shared dreams early. Life happens, so developing a plan is no guarantee that things will go perfectly. However, with a plan, you will have fewer problems and have your spouse on your side.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
Talking about money doesn’t have to be hard. Money is only one part of your life together, but it will help you meet your goals and live a happier life. Talking about it and setting yourself up for success will remove the stress that doesn’t even need to exist. Additionally, if you have a family, you are setting an excellent example for your children that will benefit them and their families.
About the Author:
Chad Andrews Chad runs YourMoneyStages.com and brings 25+ years in the financial industry, including collections, foreclosures, consumer & mortgage lending, and insurance.