As a married couple, you need to hear this fact, grim as it may sound, to understand the gravity that money as an issue impacts on your relationship.
When you were planning your wedding, it may have felt as if money was no object. You may have saved or set aside money for what you know would be the biggest day of your lives. You may have gotten some help from family and friends.
However, the wedding was one thing but what you fail to realize is that your whole married life is ahead of you and your future, while full of love, will need money.
There’s no going around it. And the teen-aged, rose-colored mentality of “You and Me, we only need each other” won’t work in real life.
Save your marriage today before it’s too late!
You have to be realistic. You and your partner will merge your lives together, as well as your financial capacities, your spending habits and money philosophies.
You will need money to manage your day-to-day lives, your and your children’s futures, and even your futures beyond the grave.
What you need early on is a healthy understanding of money and the ability to manage it well. You don’t have to be a financial expert.
You and your partner simply need arithmetic, prioritization and a large dose of respect – for yourselves and each other.
Here are some important money tips you can apply now and for the rest of your married life:
1. Understand your and your partner’s money philosophy
The way you and your partner spend, earn and manage money is not a matter of economy but philosophy. Your frugality and your partner’s penchant for luxury go deeper than just wants.
They have been ingrained from childhood. What your family of origin believes about money has made a huge impact in what you believe, even without you being aware of it.
Learn to understand each other and not judge one another’s philosophies.
2. Talk about money
Some families have been raised not to talk about money and money matters. But, like anything in marriage, a lack of communication leads to crisis.
Talk to your partner about your money philosophies. Plan your budget. Work on your priorities. Learn to negotiate.
3. Set boundaries, stick to your budget but also be flexible
A budget is about setting boundaries. It means working within what you can afford and what priorities are.
However, you and your partner also need to be flexible, agreeing to change what doesn’t work, augment what needs to be added to, and even to enjoy from your surplus.
4. Track your spending
List everything down, keep receipts. This will help you separate the needs from the wants and tell you whether you are keeping within budget.
5. Give yourselves financial freedom
Agree with your partner individual allowances for personal spending. Having your own money gives each of you a sense of independence and freedom that will make you feel better for yourself, boost your self-esteem and give you personal power.
Save your marriage today before it’s too late!
6. Be accountable to one another
Don’t keep spending secrets, especially with big-ticket items or luxuries. Agree to talk about your purchases and compromise if your partner is against it, learn to consult each other without judgment.
On the other hand, don’t make too big a deal of your partner’s purchases if they are within the budget you set.
7. Continue to learn
Keep yourself updated and informed about ways to manage your money. Keep abreast with new financial products and learn to discern what suits your needs.
Inform yourself of loans, policies, interest rates and everything that has something to do with what you purchase and how you can make your money work for you.
Read up on the laws that govern your finances.
8. Have 2 separate accounts and 1 joint account
This is self-explanatory. It’s important for you to have your own financial independence balanced with the understanding that you’re in this marriage together.
9. Invest in the future
A marriage banks on the future. You will need to be healthy financially for future needs such as children, retirement, education and the like.
Look up suitable savings and investment products that can give you a head start on tomorrow.
10. Distinguish financial issues from marital issues
Many marriages find money issues as a catalyst in bringing out issues that they may have had all along, or make marital issues that are already there, worse.
Ask yourself this – are your problems really because of money have they been there all along?
Finally, as in everything in your marriage, learn to look at the big picture. Money matters, while important, are only a part of your relationship.
The valuable thing is to focus on your relationship and the reasons why you are together in the first place.
Big picture thinking will tell you that, at the end of the day, it’s your marriage that matters and that you must do what you can to always build trust, affection, and intimacy to keep the flame alive.