The Joining of Your Money in Marriage

One of the hardest areas for most couples to agree is in the area of money and finances.  In fact, most divorces are the result of disagreements over money that date back to the beginning of their marriage.  Failing to plan for your finances to be joined together is a recipe for disaster.  There are many financial courses available to you such as Financial Peace University and Crown Ministries both of which lay a solid financial base and should be considered within the first year of your marriage.  Until then, here are a couple of potential differences in your financial perspective to discuss and compare notes.  By spending time now understanding each other’s perspective, some of the tension involving money can be minimized.

Different socioeconomic backgrounds.  You may not have grown up in the same zip code or come from the same financial background.  Some families tend to be savers and some tend to be spenders, your family’s financial background has already influenced your finances.  And while your family’s perspective on money may be different from you, imagine the tension that can be created if your spouse to be has an entirely different background experience.  The discussion topic to have is what is your family’s experience with money and how has that experience affected your financial decisions.

Different financial goals.  Having financial goals like how much money do you want saved, when and where would you like to retire, and what annual salary are you striving to achieve are just a small sample of goals that you should be discussing.  After all, each of you already has a financial goal which should become a shared goal between the two of you.  Some financial goals may be more defined and specific than others; one of you is likely to be a bit more detailed.  But if your spouse to be says that they don’t have a financial goal then their goal is really to allow others, including the financial markets, to dictate their life.  This is not a healthy goal upon which two people should be joined.

Different spending habits.  More than likely, one of you will be a spender and the other a saver.  Determine now who is which and who is going to be in charge of managing your finances.  The saver is the best choice for managing the money as they are better at long-term planning then the spender.  Both of you should begin now to put together a budget that you can agree on that is consistent with your financial goals.  Discuss and agree now on how money will be spent from each paycheck and how much money will be saved.  There are many guidelines out there for budgeting but the best one is the one that works for you and is easy to stick with every month.

Different checking accounts.  Right now you have different checking accounts and different monthly expenses.  Soon you will need to decide how and if the accounts will be joined together into one account or several different accounts.  Whether or not the accounts are jointly held, both of you needs to have access to the accounts including the balances at all times.  If not, one person may believe that the other is hiding money from them.  This breeds distrust and disunity.  Discuss now what accounts you will keep at which banks and how to give both of you access to the balances on a monthly if not daily basis.

While there are many more issues to address with joining your finances together, this list is a good place to start as you begin the merging process.  It is likely that the above topics will cause some disagreement already but that is precisely what it is designed to do because if you agree on these topics now, it will greatly reduce the tension later.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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