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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Marriage Series: Discuss finances and make a plan

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Money . . .

It's no secret that money is one of the main causes of relational and marital collapse. 

With financial decisions being one of the biggest obstacles to overcome as a couple, it's surprising that most people don't or wont talk about it.

I know for me, in my first year of marriage, talking finances with my husband was a huge headache. (Sometimes it still is). He's more of a 'spender' while I'm hands down the 'saver,' so our opinions always differ.

While talking money, bills, debt, and the like can be a painful experience, it's time to roll up those sleeves and get down and dirty in financial talks with your partner.


One of the first important things is to decide where the primary income will come from. What I mean by this is, who is looked to to provide the stability of the home? You may be surprised at this answer. If your dream has always been to be a stay at home mom, housewife, entrepreneur, or philanthropist, you may find out that your partner has other plans in mind. 

It's vital to know if you are expected to work full-time to help support the home, or if your income will simply be used for savings, vacation, and monthly miscellaneous items.  I encourage you to find out now and save yourself the heartache and disappointment.

Secondly, how do the two of you plan on handling your finances? Will you have joint accounts or keep your money separate? While there's nothing wrong with having separate accounts, I've found that this may cause a lot of friction and strife. 

For me it breeds the idea that "this is mine, and that is yours." 

Never go into a marriage with that stigma attached to it. After all, sharing is caring!

It always surprises me to hear women say they don't know how this will work because they simply haven't asked. I would say decide in your mind first what you would like to do with your bank account and then discuss it with your partner.

Believe me, I'm sure its crossed his mind as well.

Something my husband and I do is give each other a monthly allowance. People think we're crazy when we talk about our allowance but it works like magic. 

Going into the whole process, I knew I wanted to still have money to go out to Starbucks, dinners with friends, and to shop. Thinking long and hard on how to accomplish this, I suggested a monthly allowance between the two of us. My husband agreed because he too wanted to be able to go out with his friends and not have to worry about me nagging him that he spent to much.

We would each take care of our own expenditures. 

Moving forward, we transferred our direct deposit to one new account that we opened jointly and left our original accounts strictly for allowance deposits. 

So far, so good.

I could go on, but how about a checklist instead?

Here are some of the key things that are worth your while to discuss with your partner in order to create financial stability.

1. Where will income come from?

2. Are you expected to work full-time or will part-time be enough?

3. What will you do about savings and retirement?

4. How do the two of you feel about investments?

5. Will you purchase a home or would you rather rent?

6. Will you give eachother an allowance, if so, how much?

7. What is a fair amount to spend on gifts for family and friends?

8. Separate or joint accounts?

9. How will you handle large purchases? 
(I.e. car, home, renovations, electronics?)

10. What are your takes on credit-card usage? 
Will you have any at all, one, several?

11. What type of debt is going to be involved? 
Do either of you have student loans, credit card debt, etc. How do you plan to pay it down?

12. When opening new credit accounts, will both of your names be on it?

While these are just a few of the important things to cover, 
these topics will give you a head start on setting up your future.

Happy negotiations!!