Financial stress is one of the top two reasons for divorce in Australia. In fact, according to a recent Greater Bank survey, 45% of divorced couples say money issues were a significant factor in their separation.
You may think, “I wouldn’t allow money to come between my spouse and me.” But the surest way to ensure a happy, healthy relationship is to learn early on how to manage money in your marriage.
Going by statistics, money can make or break your marriage. From the same survey, 82% of respondents say money creates tension in their relationship.
Money troubles can become a wedge that drives you and partner apart. A far better solution is working through these issues with your significant other, which could help strengthen your marriage in the long run.
Here we set a few pointers of how to manage your money in marriage.
Nothing kills a relationship faster than finding out your partner has been hiding the real state of their finances.
Lies, half-truths, secrets about money will erode your spouse’s trust in you and your ability to manage family money. It is essential you are open about how much debts you are carrying (if any) and why you got into debt in the first place.
Perhaps, you paid your way through school with a student loan or took out a loan to buy a house.
While at it, you also have to discuss how you feel about money. Be clear about how you expect money to be handled in your relationship – do you expect your partner to discuss purchases above say $200 with you?
Make plans to get out of debt
While so many couples would like to start their married life debt-free, only a few manage to pull it off.
So, if you or your partner is coming into the marriage with some unpaid debts, you may want to create a plan on how to pay it off as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind, though, marrying someone with a bad credit history will not affect your credit score. However, it can affect you financially in several ways.
You may find it challenging to have your loans approved as a couple. That is not to say, even with the bad credit you cannot find a lender to borrow from for something like a car purchase.
While you and your partner work to improve your family’s creditworthiness, you can still get a car loan with bad credit although you might need to shop a bit harder for willing lenders.
Build an Emergency fund
Life happens, unforeseen events occur, and you do not want when those unplanned expenses to erode your savings or investment funds. Here is where having an emergency fund comes in.
Think of the emergency fund as a buffer that shields your long-term investment fund from unplanned expenses.
While there is no specific amount to save as an emergency fund, you may want to aim for at least six months of your monthly household expenses.
Create a budget and stick to it
Budgeting helps you track where you are spending money and on what item.
Deciding how much you and your partner will spend on different monthly budget categories such as eating out, entertainment and food will help prevent money squabbles while also opening up communication with your spouse.
In the beginning, though, you will have to rely more on estimates of your previous spending, then as you gather more data, tweak and make adjustments where necessary.
While it is essential to have a budget, you can only reap the rewards if you stick to it. To help ensure you stay within budget, consider using monthly expense apps or a spreadsheet to track how much you are spending in a month.
Set financial goals together
Being married does not mean your goals and aspirations die. Both of you should help each other achieve their dreams.
What big plans do you have? Share it with your spouse and work together to save and make them happen.
This way, not only are you both sharing in each other’s intimate desires but actively working together to make them a reality.