While the divorce rate in the United States has plummeted over the years, the main culprit for the demise of marriages is still money. In a study completed by Kansas State University, researcher Sonya Britt found that arguments about money supersedes arguments about children, sex or in-laws in marriages.
Below are a few tips to minimize the amount of financial arguments in your marriage.
Maintain Open Communication
In order to establish a healthy financial environment for your marriage, an initial financial conversation should occur. Many people discuss finances after the proposal (usually during premarital counseling) but still don’t go into great detail regarding their current financial status. Discussing the amount of debt you and your spouse may have (as well as types including credit card, student loans, etc.), the exact credit score or your spending habits (frugal or live lavishly) can be a great conversation starter.
The initial conversation should lead you to goal setting. Establishing financial goals will allow you and your spouse to remain on the same page all while actively strengthening your household finances. For example, if you and your spouse have debt or aspire to have a higher credit score, create a detailed plan to pay down debt and a detailed plan to improve your credit. Also, maintaining weekly financial meetings will allow you to examine your status while working toward your goals.
Not all of your goals will focus on debt, as you and your spouse will have spending goals as well. If you have a certain amount of discretionary funds, how will that be spent and on which items? Create a list of household items that you want to purchase or items that you want to prepare for in the future (anything ranging from home renovations to family planning) and add this to your list of goals.
Manage Household Funds
Every household is different. Some married couples have one account while others have a three-account system: each person has their own bank account and there is one joint account. Before setting up these accounts, you should discuss the amount of funds that will go into each one – mainly the joint account. How will we use this joint account? Will there be an account solely for discretionary spending? Will we set up an account for a specific vacation?