Financial Advice Married Couples May Not Want to Hear
It is nothing new that disagreements over finances are one of the main reasons couples end up in divorce court. Financial advice is readily available, but married couples are still fighting over money. Why? For a variety of reasons, couples appear not to want to hear financial advice.
Here is financial advice that married couples often ignore:
1) Create Separate Accounts and One Joint Account
"Should we create a joint bank account or have separate accounts?" is one of the most important decisions the two of you need to make regarding your finances. Having your own money that you can spend however you want can lessen arguments about money. We disagree with the belief that having separate joint accounts lessens the sense of unity in marriage and shows a lack of trust in one another.
2) Track How You Are Spending Money
It's called a budget. Tracking your spending is not a way to point fingers at one another as to who is spending what. Tracking your spending is not having someone looking over your shoulder every time you buy something. Tracking your spending is critical to being financially secure. Unless you know where your money is going, it is impossible to set financial goals you are both comfortable with.
3) Set Your Financial Priorities Together
Know what is important to each of you. One of you may want to buy a house while the other thinks saving for your retirement is more important. Seeking the help of a financial planner can help you set your priorities and still spend money on some fun things like a vacation now and then.
4) Discuss Finances Together on a Regular Basis
Sure, communicating with your spouse about finances isn't easy because money can symbolize different things to each partner. One may view money as security and the other as power. If the topic of debt, bills, savings, and goals makes one or both of you uncomfortable or defensive, seek the help of a financial counselor or planner. It is important that both of you know where you stand financially and have common financial goals.
5) Save 10% of Your Income
Couples living month-to-month often rationalize that they just don't have enough money to save. Make the decision to save at least 10% of your income. After saving enough cash as an emergency fund, invest in a retirement account. The earlier the two of you start saving money for your retirement years, the easier it will be have a retirement lifestyle that you both hope for.
6) Handle Debt as a Couple
Make a plan to pay down existing debt. Drawing a line in the sand and saying that your spouse's debt isn't your problem is not going to work because even if the debt existed before you married, your credit rating can be negatively impacted as well as the bottom line of how much money the two of you are paying monthly in interest charges.
7) Try to Live Debt Free
Couples often don't want to wait to have a new television, new car, and other new gadgets. They rationalize that people just don't live without credit cards and debt. Although it may be true that many people are heavily in debt, that doesn't mean it is a healthy way to handle your finances.
8) Don't Keep Big Financial Secrets
Not being honest about the cost of large financial purchases or keeping debts hidden is considered financial infidelity by many people. Such secrets can destroy your marriage.
9) You May Have to Face Tough Times Financially
No matter how much you plan and talk about money, no matter how much you save, no matter how frugal the two of you are, there still could be tough times and unemployment in your financial future.