3 Ways For Couples To Discuss Money Without Getting Divorced
Don't let money talk bog down your marriage. Navigate this sensitive subject with these simple tips.
Numerous studies point to money as one of the leading causes of divorce. From different spending habits and financial goals to one spouse earning considerably more income than the other, money can be a polarizing issue in a marriage, straining it to the breaking point.
Money problems within a marriage can spiral out of control when one spouse or both establish detrimental financial habits, such as overspending, increasing debt, and poor priorities. Things worsen when these spending behaviors occur without the otherís knowledge. Thus, communication, financial advisors say, is a key component to a couple keeping their financial houseóand perhaps their marriageóin order. And ideally, the couple will have honest and thorough money conversations on a consistent basis.
Successful relationships require open communication and trust, but there are some conversations that are harder to have than others. One of the most difficult ones is about money. Itís serious and can be daunting, but it doesnít have to be difficult or scary.
Here are three tips for couples on making a healthy, organized discussion about money a consistent part of their marriage:
* Planning the talk. This is the first step and itís an important one. Find a time when you can both talk without distractions: no phones, TV, or kids. Itís also a good idea to have these meetings monthly, or at least quarterly, to ensure youíre on the same page.
* Discuss the hard numbers. You both should be prepared to discuss your budget, as well as plans for savings and retirement. In a 2017 MagnifyMoney Divorce and Debt survey, 70 percent of respondents who said their divorce was due to money issues also said they didnít stick to a budget during the marriage. Bring notes about how your family has handled money in the past and how you would follow or change those steps. Is it best to have joint bank accounts or single? Now is also the time to talk about financial goals and dreams, and to see how together you can make them come true.
* Remember, itís "We," not "I." Itís no longer just about you since youíre building your lives together. It should also be noted that empathy will help with these conversations. Try to understand where your husband or wife is coming from, especially if you have different spending habits. Itís also important to listen to qualms your partner may have.
Itís important to remember that old saying, "No one is perfect." Both of you are going to make financial errors. Be forgiving and understanding, and then try to figure ways to prevent it from happening again.
An author, speaker, and thought leader, Al Zdenek (www.AlZdenek.com) is executive vice president at Mercer Advisors. A leader in the wealth management industry for over 30 years, he is a personal financial specialist, certified public accountant and former president, CEO and founder of Traust Sollus Wealth Management. His book, "Master Your Cash Flow:† The Key To Grow And Retain Wealth," and his upcoming book, "Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow A Valuable Business," show readers how to achieve the wealth they need, find additional cash flow and, if saved, build wealth sooner, work less years or have more wealth to live the lifestyle they desire now and forever.