Prevent Financial Issues from Leading to Divorce
By Mike Stetzer
Whether people may like it or not at certain times, financial discussions are a major part of all marriages. A recent study by SmartMoney and RedBook depicts that 70% of couples talk about money at least once a week. Numerous studies have also revealed that money issues are the number-one reason why couples argue. In some instances, philosophical differences in how spouses spend money have prompted divorce.
With that said, a SmartMoney story recently depicted the six financial mistakes that couples make with money and then explain how couples can avoid such financial disputes from causing harm to their marriages.
- Instead of banking separately, the story reveals that couples should be united in how they bank. In other words, one spouse should not view his or her money as being solely "mine". Rather, couples should view all of their money as "yours, mine and ours." However, this approach may not always be right for recently-married couples in which one spouse has more debt. For some couples, the idea of having joint accounts may not be comfortable and thus should not be rushed.
- The SmartMoney survey revealed that debt is the number-one issue that couples fight about when it comes to their finances. With that said, when one partner enters the marriage with a lot more debt, the couple should not use this debt as a point of division.
For example, if the husband has a lot of debt, his wife should not tell him that it's his problem, and vice versa. Rather, the couple should look at how they can both work together to pay off this debt, whether it's from credit cards, medical bills, student loans or something else. For some couples in which previous debt may be an issue, the story says that they may want to think about a pre-nuptial agreement.
- Partners in a marriage may become divided on the belief that "I save money" and "you spend money", mindsets that the story highly stresses to avoid. Instead of lumping themselves as being one or the other in terms of spending and saving money, the story says that couples should admit that they both spend money and then budget based on what they earn and the bills they have.
- Investing money is also a major source of division during marriages. One spouse may be more of a financial risk-taker while the other spouse may be more risk-averse (the SmartMoney survey revealed that men tend to take more investment risks with money as compared to their wives). The story advises couples to talk about what they want to with their money and when they want their money to possibly work with them. In addition to discussing these timeframes, the story says that couples should review their investments at least once a year and speak to financial planners for more help.
- Couples should obviously not keep secrets about their money. The SmartMoney survey indicated that 36% of men and 40% of women have admitted to lying to their spouse about the price of something at one point in their marriage. Keeping secrets could harm marriages and lead to divorce.
- The story indicates that couples should save money for emergencies. With that said, not all couples have an emergency savings account; thus leaving them susceptible to rushed decisions when there is a loss of job or unexpected medical situation.
Ultimately, how couples discuss money and work together could make a huge difference in whether financial issues drive a wedge between them and lead to divorce or rather bolster their faith in each other and strengthen their relationships.