The leading cause of divorce in America isn’t infidelity, but money troubles. It’s not necessarily being in trouble financially, but rather arguments about spending and saving (or lack thereof).
In this post I’ll discuss the most common mistakes young couples make when dealing with their finances. Be sure to avoid making these 8 money mistakes that ruin your marriage:
Keeping Secrets About Your Spending
Making a financial mistake is bad enough. Lying about it only compounds the problem. This means you should tell them if you make a big purchase, if you get a bonus at work or if you opened a new credit card.
It’s a trust issue. If you’re lying about money, what else are you lying about?
Not Sharing Bill-Paying Responsibilities
Leaving the bills in the hands of one person isn’t fair. Sharing this responsibility lessens the likelihood of keeping money secrets and makes the both of you more involved in your finances.
I know it may sound easier for just one person to handle paying the bills. But the both of you should at least be aware of how much money is being spent month to the month.
Thinking Money Can Buy Love
The Beatles said it best. Money indeed can’t buy you love. If your relationship is damaged, buying your spouse an expensive present isn’t going to truly solve anything. It’s just going to put a temporary bandaid on a permanent problem.
If you’re in a financial bind, splurging on a gift is probably not the best idea. And since your income and expenses are so co-mingled, it’s as if you’re spending their own money for their gift.
Not Having A Financial Arrangement
Each marriage needs to have a financial plan you both agree to. The plan should be clear.
- What is your monthly savings goal?
- How much do we put away for retirement each month?
- Who’s responsible for paying which bill every month.
- How much can you spend on something without first talking it over?
If you just decide to wing it there will be serious problems and disagreements down the line.
Ignoring Your Spouses’ Debt
You are not financially responsible for paying off the debt your spouse accrued before marriage. But that doesn’t mean this debt isn’t going to creep back into your everyday life.
If you spouse has a big debt, be it student loans or old credit card debt, they’re going to be putting a significant amount of their income into paying this off. This can lead to friction, as they may not be contributing to the household as much as you are.
The best route in this situation is to work together to pay down/off the debt, even if it means having to pay your spouses’ debt for them. It makes no sense to ignore this debt and pretend it’s not your problem because once you’re married, it’s your problem too.
Not Spending Your Money On Experiences
When discussing money, too many times we’re talking about paying bills and paying for the mortgage. But there’s a fun side to money too. Use your money to share an experience together, such as an amusement park, a weekend getaway or taking a cruise.
So instead of spending your money on material things, invest in creating a memory. It will last longer than any physical thing you can purchase and your marriage will thank you for it.
Being Forced Into Traditional Roles
Typically in society, the woman handles the day to day budgeting and bill paying whereas the man deals with the big issues like retirement accounts and investing. But each of you has strengths and weaknesses.
Rather than following social norms, divide financial tasks according to who is the best candidate to handle it. So buck the trend and don’t follow these traditional roles if it’s not what’s best for your marriage.
Having A Lack Of Communication
Couples fight a lot about money. But rather than fight about income, the fights are usually about miscellaneous expenses. You see, the problem isn’t how much you make, but rather how much you spend.
In order to avoid these arguments, talk to your spouse first before making any large financial decision. This includes taking out a loan, opening up another store credit card card account or making a large purchase like a TV or computer.