Marriage is an exciting part of life but it will be full of various obstacles along the way including money challenges. As you start to share a life together, you will soon realize that it comes with a lot of adjustments from the smallest detail to the biggest life decisions you will make as a couple. It can be both exciting and scary for any of you.
It can be as small as deciding what will be for breakfast, especially if you have different views on it. One might have been used to having just a strong cup of coffee in the morning and the other needs a full breakfast to start the day. Marriage also means you have to agree on the type of house to buy and even the location because this will be one of the biggest investments you will ever make as a couple.
Money challenges will be present in most of your life but that should not be a bad thing. It offers a way for you to learn more about each other and find a compromise. If breakfast means deciding between a cup of coffee to a full plate of food, that means you can either save money or increase your food budget. If you are trying to decide which house to buy, you need to agree on the type of house, the location, and how much you can put in for the monthly mortgage payment.
There will be a lot of situations where you need to make decisions you will both agree on. At the very least, you have to meet halfway. If not, you could end up making financial mistakes simply because you did not want to include your partner in the process. Here are some of the financial decisions you might make which could lead to bigger problems down the line.
Keeping separate bank accounts
It might surprise you but one of the money challenges a lot of married couples have is letting go of their privacy when it comes to their bank accounts. Before getting married, you would have separate accounts under your name that you used in managing your own personal finances. It can be where all your payments come out of or even a savings account.
You do not have to keep that up but according to Phys Org, long-term committed couples are happier when they have a joint bank account. It promotes transparency and shows that you trust each other with your money. You can still retain your old bank accounts but marital finances go through that joint account.
Maintaining separate lifestyles
Money challenges often arise from trying to maintain an expensive lifestyle. You could be living off on your cards and transferring balances every month just to keep up with the people around you. It can include buying designer clothes, driving away on brand new vehicles, buying a house in an expensive part of the city, or even dining out every night to maintain a social life.
Once you get married, your lifestyle has to be in tune with your finances. If you keep on living a life you cannot afford, your finances will sink real fast. You both need to agree on what your essentials are and what you can afford to spend every month. Your needs and goals should come first before any lifestyle you want to project.
As soon as you get married, your priorities will change in life and so should your lifestyle as well. Rather than spending on a new car that you do not need just to impress, you can put that money on your retirement fund. Saving for your children’s college fund will start to make a lot more sense than blowing off your entire bonus on designer clothes.
Clashes due to differences in personality
Money challenges for married couples can also stem from differences in personality. One of you could be a big spender while the other one prefers to save and plan for the future. One thing you need to understand is that you and your spouse will have a ton of differences and financial personalities are just one of them.
However, these differences can actually strengthen your marriage if you know how to make the most of it. If not, it can be the wedge that drives you two apart. If one of you is great in saving money and planning for future needs, that person can take charge of the retirement and even emergency fund. The other one who loves to spend can always be on the lookout for sales and other promotions so you can both save on things you need to purchase.
Salary distinguishes responsibility in the house
You and your spouse will usually be bringing in different amounts of income every month into your household. If you turn this into a discussion of who is providing more for the marriage, it could lead to a bitter exchange of words if you are not careful. However, this is a reality you cannot overlook and money challenges can arise from this.
In order to make it work, it should never be about who brings in the bigger pay. Once you pool everything in, you plan on that amount and not from what each of you earns every month. Remember also that your relationship and even your finances are not based solely on your take-home pay. You look at your spending, your savings, and even your goals to make your finances work.
Hiding expenses from each other
One of the worst things you can ever do to your spouse is when you start to lie and hide your financial activities. It might be acceptable if you are trying to save in secret for a gift or a surprise for a special occasion. However, if you are stressed about your credit card bills coming in at the end of the month, you need to start making changes.
One thing you have to remember is that trust in any relationship is an important anchor that holds your two together. When you start to lie and hide things from your partner, you are slowly eroding that trust and it will be challenging to bring that back. You need to be transparent and upfront with your expenses so you do not put your finances and even your relationship in peril.
Long-term goals are not aligned
Money problems can also come from not talking about your long-term goals. As a couple, you need to have the same goals for the future. It can either be about having a bigger family, buying a house, traveling the world, or even living in another country for retirement. You need to make sure that you are able to decide and agree on these things early on in your marriage.
Money challenges is a normal occurrence for married couples and the way you manage them can help you improve your relationship. If you let it go unchecked hoping it will fix itself, it can slowly destroy your marriage and make the relationship a lot tougher to manage. This is why it is important that you get ahead of the problem before it gets out of hand.