Five Simple Financial Commitments to a Better Marriage

By David John Marotta

No married couple wants a scandal, even if it is just financial in nature. Money problems can ruin the love affair with your spouse. The work of blending two lives in harmony requires certain basic commitments. Many families today are financially troubled. Most of these are in denial. The rest of them are looking for a quick fix. Even a financial planner can’t help unless the couple is willing to make five simple commitments. You can always choose to find something to fight about. But if you are serious about removing the financial obstacles in your love life, you should commit to the following money management rules.

First, take the time to provide open account

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2 Responses to Five Simple Financial Commitments to a Better Marriage

  1. NormR says:

    I agree. I went through a terrible divorce and part of the problem was grounded in money issues. I remarried about 10 years ago and I learned from that failed relationship. My spouse and I have developed a workable financial plan.

    1. My spouse and I each use a charge card for all dining out and entertainment. We then pay them off each and every month. This gives us an entertainment budget for the year, which handles the internal conversation that “we never do anything”. Ditto for any vacations.

    2. We run financial software on the home PC; I do most of the data entry but all accounts are included and we both have full access. I use Quicken, but others prefer MS Money. This keeps track of all savings, spending and retirement accounts. It generates the entertainment budget I mentioned in Item 1, as well as provides all manner of useful and interesting reports.

    3. Both my spouse and I “Pay ourselves” first. Payroll checks are deposited to the family savings account. Then on a monthly basis, funds are transferred to the “spending” checking account. Monthly retirement savings goals are also automatically transferred to the appropriate accounts. Any decision to spend then reduces the family savings. We have become much more aware of the impact of our spending on our finances.

    4. We each have a discretionary checking account. On a periodic basis, these are funded and provide for individual discretionary spending. My account isn’t large; it currently has about $725 in it; my spouse’s is larger. These accounts provide us the opportunity to save and spend independently.

    A marriage is a partnership and it does require work and compromise. If the partners can agree on the financial goals, that does seem to facilitate our relationship.

  2. SNAFU says:

    Couples need to talk about what money means to them, who is frugal and who is spendy before they get married. It would be so much easier if a pre-marital course was compulsary [like a driver's license].

    1. What worked for us was to divide the basic expenses [rental, utilities, food, insurance, transportation] and contribute based on our earnings. Initially, DH’s net was 1/3 more than mine so he paid 5/6. I caught up eventually to 50/50.

    2. I was able to convince DH that paying interest was like sitting on the doorstep and burning money so we agreed that whatever went on CC would be paid in full on it’s due date.

    3. DH dislikes shopping and neither of us are ‘trendy’ so no disagreements on spending for clothes or housewares.

    4. We each contributed to an emergency fund [$ 1,000. initial now $3,000.] to take care of ‘life happens’ problems. This really worked to avoid mountains of stress. Sums are replaced ASAP.

    5. We each get Petty Cash to cover discretionary spending. However, once it’s gone…it’s gone until the next month. While DH pays for dinner out or entertainment, I rebate my share either before or after the event.

    6. Before making a major purchase, we do research and must convince the other of it’s value or it’s a ‘no go.’ For example,it took us 2 months this fall to agree on which brand & level of car to buy. This worked to our advantage as the prices kept dropping and the salesmen were hungry for business.

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