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It’s no secret that money is the leading cause of divorce these days.
And I’ll admit that my wife and I have had our fair share of money fights as well.
When we got married, we both were broke as heck.
I mean we were on our honeymoon of all places when we totaled up our $61,000 in debt.
We could have allowed things to spiral out of control, but instead, we took our situation and turned it around.
And it’s a good thing we did, because I ended up losing my job as we were paying off our debt.
As we approach our 5th anniversary, I can honestly say that the money fights are few and far between these days.
And they’re usually just small disagreements on the optimal way to reach our goals.
No matter where you’re starting from today, I believe there are a few things you can do to help ease tension surrounding money in your own marriage.
Implementing these tips will not only help you manage your money better, but you should also start communicating even better than you are today.
Talk About Money Before Marriage
This is one I wish we had done. And no it’s not because we wouldn’t have married each other.
No sports team ever rushes out into the game without creating a game plan, right?
In the same way, you need to discuss how to use your strengths and get better at your weaknesses before heading into marriage.
Having coached a lot of newlyweds, it’s really better to just lay everything out there before you say I do.
Things like each of your current debt, credit scores, income, and even if either plans to take on even more debt for something like an advanced degree all affect both of you.
If you don’t know where to start the conversation, here are some questions you can ask if you’re considering getting married.
Set Big, Common Goals
Sure there are some things you may disagree on, but there should also be some major milestones you both want to achieve together.
Maybe you want to buy a house. Or maybe you both want one of you to stay at home when the kids are born.
These big decisions need to be discussed before and during your marriage on a regular basis.
We have a list of the top vacation spots we want to visit together. We both also know when we’d like to retire and what our plans are once we reach retirement.
What this does is alleviate tension because now I’m able to step back and realize that Taylor isn’t fighting against me; she’s fighting for our goals. She just has a different method in mind for getting there which is totally okay.
Track Progress Made Towards Your Goals
It isn’t just enough to have big goals. You need to have a plan to track your progress along the way.
It’s kinda like driving to a place you’ve never been before. Even if you know the general direction you’re heading, it’s still a great idea to check the map every so often.
Not only that, but you should also celebrate your progress as a team along the way.
And that helps you not only stay motivated, but connected to one another as well- which is the most important thing.
Get Help If Necessary
Sometimes we find ourselves gridlocked in marriage. One of you wants to go one way and the other wants to move in a totally different direction.
That’s totally normal when two people are passionate about reaching their goals.
But those moments can also become tense and lead to cracks in your foundation if you’re not careful.
In these moments where both of you are struggling to see the others perspective and neither wants to give in, it’s best to seek the help of a professional.
This could be in the form of a marriage counselor or even a financial coach.
It’s better to spend the money there than drive a wedge between you and your spouse.
Have a Planning Party Every Month
Not only is this a great time to create your spending plan for the next month, but you should also be updating one another on the progress you made the previous month.
But this shouldn’t be like your Monday morning conference call.
Make it fun with some wine and your favorite meal.
Regardless of how you do it, make sure you put this on your calendar and stick to it every single month.
Avoid Money Secrets
Financial infidelity is a huge deal!
Hiding credit cards, a gambling addiction, or even lying about purchases is a violation of trust that may be hard for you to get back.
If you’re already guilty of this, you should consider coming clean.
This just may be one of those times where you have to seek a counselor, but, again, protecting your unity and trust is more important than the cost of a session.
Have Some Fun
Personal finance doesn’t have to be boring and stuffy.
One of the things we do that I absolutely love is setting aside $125 each month for each of us to spend however we wish.
Sometimes I use my “fun money” to take Taylor and Alison out to a meal. Other times I save it to go to an event that I want to see.
However you want to use your fun money is completely up to you and neither of you should criticize what the other does with their money.
Just make sure you’re not setting an amount that will really hinder you from reaching your goals.
Not only that, but use your money to take trips and do things together as a family.
I’d rather become a millionaire at 40 with a ton of memories than do it at 37 having sacrificed entirely too much.
That line is totally up to you to discuss as a family, but definitely remember to have a balance.
You both are on the same team and it’s important that you remember that fact.
Keep the communication open and never do anything to violate the trust within your marriage.
If you both focus on living on way less than you make, and investing whatever’s left, you’ll surprise yourself with how much wealth you can accumulate.
Also, keep things light and fun.
At the end of the day, money is a tool to be used. And it can be used in many ways including to manipulate and control or to bring joy and peace into your household.
It’s up to you both to choose how you’ll utilize it.