Why Money Conversations Should Happen Before Marriage
- Financial problems in a marriage are one of the leading causes of divorce.
- If finances aren’t discussed before jumping the broom, this can lead to an unhappy marriage.
- A healthy financial journey consists of money conversations and mental health check-ins.
The subject of money has always been a taboo topic. So, feeling awkward or ashamed when opening up about your finances is a natural feeling. However, everyone makes mistakes, whether with money or something else. So, when you feel like you’d rather shut down and not talk about money altogether, think about how relieved you will feel after you have an open and honest conversation with your spouse.
Below are five steps to help you and your spouse better understand one another and how you can handle your finances better.
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Learn Your Partner's Money Habits
Knowing your partner’s financial habits will help you understand each other better. A few questions to start the conversation:
- Am I a spender or saver?
- Is my spouse a spender or a saver?
There is no right or wrong answer to the financial questions that you ask of each other. However, once you both get to know the habits of each other, you can play to each other’s strengths and help with one another’s weaknesses.
If you are the saver and your spouse is the spender, you may have more self-control which you can use as an opportunity to educate your spouse on your saving techniques.
Spending money isn’t a bad thing either. If your spouse is the spender, and they plan to spend money on necessities like rent, groceries, and things they value, like buying you a nice birthday present, they can educate you on spending techniques that align with their values.
Both Partners Are Spenders
If both partners are spenders, then savings automation can play a key role in saving for specific financial goals or building up your emergency fund. Automating your money means having your bank or employer direct a certain amount of money to your savings account each month. Many people use the term “Set it and forget it” so you don’t have to worry about manually moving money between your bank accounts.
Learning Spending Triggers
Ask yourself what makes you want to spend money and pay attention to the feelings that may arise when you spend money. If you feel like an impulsive spender, you may be triggered by a childhood emotion. Maybe you didn’t get all the things you desired as a kid, so when you see something you like, you tend to buy it without a second thought.
Making a conscious effort to be aware of your feelings and reflecting on your emotions can help you release negative spending triggers. Spending too much money can cause you and your spouse to go into debt or avoid being honest with one another about your emotional spending habits. Instead, lean on your partner to help keep you focused on the bigger financial picture.
Establish Healthy Money Boundaries
Establishing healthy money boundaries between you and your spouse means listening to and respecting one another's views on money. Healthy money boundaries can protect your finances, feelings, and your relationship. In addition, setting boundaries is key to reducing financial stress and negative emotions towards one another.
Communicate your boundaries so that neither spouse is left with questions about your financial desires. Also, ensure that you make it a no-judgment zone for both of you.
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Have Open Conversations About Money
A recent survey shows that 39% of adults avoid discussing money with their partners. This can be due to negative emotions centered around money or the fear of being judged for not knowing much about money.
Learning your partner's money habits and establishing healthy financial boundaries will help open the door to easier money conversations with your spouse.
Remember that a positive financial journey only works when people work together consistently.
Hold Your Spouse Accountable
Setting financial goals and healthy boundaries can be a daunting task. However, having someone to hold you accountable can make it much easier.
An accountability partner will help you commit to your goals by coaching, educating, and being a support system. It may be intimidating to have someone push you to stick to your financial goals even when you feel like throwing in the towel. But, the point of an accountability partner is to keep you on the right track and committed to your goals.
In marriage, you learn to prioritize yourself and your spouse. The same rule applies to your financial journey. Prioritizing your finances sets you up for a smoother ride if an emergency arises.
Set a time each week to do a financial check-in to ensure that you meet your goals accordingly. There will be times when things don’t go according to plan. If this happens, extend yourself some grace and pick up where you left off.
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The Money Wrap-Up
A healthy financial journey consists of money conversations and mental health check-ins.
There will be easy times, and there will be challenging times. You won’t be prepared for everything life throws at you and your spouse, but you can have a better perspective on how to handle challenges with grace and understanding.
You may also hear about how other couples make their finances work. However, what works for them may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for them. Remember, there is more than one way to achieve a goal.
Setting a positive and realistic financial foundation before marriage can help you and your spouse create a successful financial future.