Recently, I have seen an increase in couples with fighting over money and marriage. The most common advice I give is for them to sit down once or twice a month and review the bills so that one person doesn’t feel like they have all the responsibility for finances in the relationship. Likewise, the person who doesn’t feel financially connected can get a big picture of what is going on with the family money. After that, I refer them to a financial professional for planning purposes. This made me think about what recommendation a financial professional may have for couples. So I asked Mike Fulkerson to help me out. The following is advice from him!
Getting married, that is the easy part. Staying married proves to be a bit more challenging. Top of the list of issues from divorcing parties is money issues. Interestingly it doesn’t make a difference if you have too much or too little of the green stuff. So why does money affect our relationships so much? There is no simple answer. And in today’s society, if the answer isn’t simple we just plain don’t want to put in the time to work on it. Now with a little effort and an open mind avoiding the following three financial pitfalls will help promote a healthier marriage.
- Hiding purchases from your spouse/partner. Seems like a no brainer. No matter how small the purchase may be, unless the purchase is a gift for your spouse/partner, this typically will undermine the relationship. The bigger the purchase the bigger the problem will be in the future when the problem surfaces. In addition, hiding purchases may add undue stress to your relationship due to guilt or suspicion. Best to chat about what you would like to buy before you buy it.
- Spender versus Saver. Having two financial personalities under the same roof can be difficult, especially as time goes on. Having a conversation regarding spending habits usually does not bring desired results. One of the spouses/partners will likely feel resentment as their needs are not met. Creating a spending and saving system or plan will need to be setup in order to bring balance to both spouses/partners.
- Not having “Couple” financial goals. Being a couple is like being a team and teams have goals. The goals may be small or large. They can be everything from a night out to an exotic trip to retirement savings. Perhaps you do not share many of the same feelings towards money with your spouse/partner however developing a
goal “bucket” list to create commonality within your financial structure may be time well spent.
Unfortunately there isn’t an app for avoiding financial pitfalls in any relationship. Much of the solution is good ol’ fashioned talking. Occasionally you may need to speak with an independent third party to assist in setting up a plan or getting ideas on how to make changes to your current system. Keep in mind that no matter what system you have in place, maintenance will be required to keep it running smoothly. And that maintenance is communicating with your spouse/partner. Click here to read more about how you can improve your conversation about finances with your spouse or partner.
Article contributed by Michael J. Fulkerson, AWMA an Independent Financial Advisor and an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designee with the Chicago Investment Advisory Council located at 1601 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL 60174. For questions or to schedule an appointment Mike can be reached at 630-444-1410 or
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