One of the biggest challenges for couples is money management when married. It is a lot different before marriage when you and your partner manage separate finances. You only worry about making money for your own need. You have a different set of financial obligations and maybe a different source of income from that of your partner.
One other factor you have to consider is your financial personality. This is a big part of who you are and takes time to develop. What you have to understand is that your past experiences in life contributes to how you manage
This is one of the friction points when you start to look at money management when married. It is because you and your spouse would have completely different backgrounds. You would have different experiences, money lessons, and even influences. As such, you would have different personalities and approach when it comes to money management.
When the time comes that you have to tie the knot, you need to sit down and start talking about a number of items including your finances. You both need to agree how you will manage your funds when you get married. If you choose to be passive about it because you do not feel like talking about your finances, it can come back and haunt you later in the relationship. Here are a few ideas on how you can manage your money as soon as you get married. These can be great jump-off points when you want to start that money discussion.
You share everything
One of the ways to approach money management when married is a concept where you share everything. The idea behind this is putting everything on the table and paying everything from one pot. You do not hide anything from each other and budget from one fund. This is as transparent as you can get when you look at marital finances.
The advantage of this is that you know what each one is doing and earning as well as spending. You work towards common goals and save together to reach them. This strategy also helps you understand exactly where
If one of you is a spender and the other a saver, it might be hard to reconcile the desire to save and the impulse to spend. One thing you can do is set limits to spending and other expenses each of you make with your money. This way, you make sure that you are both moving in the same direction and you get to reach your goals as a couple.
You divide the budget down the middle
On the other side of the spectrum, there are couples who decide to divide everything down the middle. This is a popular approach to money management when married especially as Census shares average age for men and women to get married is 30 and 28 years od. This means that they are bringing more into the marriage compared to when they were younger.
The idea is to have equal responsibiilties in the relationship. This keeps the relationship on equal footing when it comes to financial responsibilites. It works for some couples because there are some people who easily gets offended when it comes to money matters. This is true especially when they start looking at who is paying what.
However, it also has its own set of challenges. For one, it is rare that couples earn exactly that same amount of money. Even if they do, their work could be different from each other. This means that they will have different workloand and would have different stress level. If you consider all these, dividing evertyhing down the middle might be challenging for one person in the marriage.
Even if the financial reasponsibility is split evenly, one person could have a hard time meeting it for a number of reasons. They might be earning less which makes it hard for them to put the same amount of money on the table. It is also possible that they are earning the same but have more on their plate. This can cause some friction and eventually problems along the way when you are after equality.
You share a little
When you talk about money management when married, one approach people have is to share just enough to meet all financial obilgtions. Eveything else after that is managed separately ny each partner. One thing that works for this approch is that the couple ensures that their payments are met every single time. One variation for this is when one manages the big financial decisions in the house while the other one takes up the minor ones.
It is also easier to save money for surprise gifts and vacations since money they earn over their expenses are theirs to manage. They can save for their partner’s birthday and give them gifts they can save for. That is a little harder when you put everything in one account. Each partner can also retain a large part of theri personality when they have the money to sustain their lifestyle. But this approach comes with its own set of challenges.
For one, it might be difficult to plan for long-term goals when you are only concerned with present expenses. Also, it is possible that you are current with your payments but one partner is already neck-deep in loans and debts. This is because you do not have an idea how each partner is spending their money apart from paying immediate expenses.
Only one person is in control
One approach in money management when married is having only one person decide on every single financial concern for the marriage. From the day to day expenses to the big purchases, the decision rests on only one person. Though some households still use this approach, there are a lot more disadvantages with this strategy.
One of the most obvious is that it defeats the purpose of working together as husband and wife. If only one is making all the money decisions, it undermines the abilities of the other person in the marriage. The risk of financial exposure is also big since only one person is making all the decision. One wrong move and you could lose of money.
This strategy also puts the goals and aspirations of one party on the sidelines. It is hard to share your goals when you do not even know what is happening with your finances. In cases of death or divorce, the party in the dark would have no way of knowing how to proceed. This can be a real struggle in trying to put the pieces together.
Money management when married should form an integral part of the relationship since it affects a lot of areas in the marriage. This is a decision that has to be made even before tying the knot. One of the any talks you should have with your partner before sharing “I do’s” is how should you manage your money as a couple. There are a number of options you can choose from but it ultimately rests on your goals and different personalities. You can be completely transparent when you are both just starting out or designate money decisions based on the strengths of each partner. In the end, your decision should help you enjoy life while meeting your financial goals.