Marriage should be primarily an emotional decision but that does not mean you should lose sight of everything else. Believe it or not, an important consideration before you get married is your personal finances – both yours and that of your spouse-to-be.
In an article published on the Huffingtonpost.com, a study was cited that finally linked financial difficulties with divorce. There are many causes for divorce between married couples. You have the infidelity, in-laws, children, etc. However, the primary cause of disagreements that lead to separation involves financial matters. There was never a study that could directly link these two together but now, a Kansas State University researcher can prove that money can make or break a marriage. This study is titled “Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce.”
How a marital status can benefit your finances
All married couples can attest that something changed in their personal finances once they tied the knot. After all, there are benefits that are exclusive for those who are already married. You may be able to use these to help keep financial issues from destroying your marriage.
Here are 6 benefits on your personal finances after marrying your spouse.
Combined income. The foremost benefit is you now have a bigger income in your home. What is yours is also your spouse’s income and vice versa. Regardless of who earns the most, you get to combine that and benefit equally – at least, this is the ideal scenario. It all depends on what you agree on of course, but this is how it usually happens.
Shared expenses. Now that you live under one roof, you can now share the household costs with your spouse. You don’t have to pay separately for the rental or mortgage of your house. If something breaks down in your home, you don’t have to shoulder that alone. You can use your joint income to pay for things and thus the financial burden will not be as great as before.
Get insurance discounts. If you married someone who is a responsible driver, you can benefit from a discount on your car insurance. You may want to let your agent know that you are already married and that your spouse is a very responsible driver. Of course, the opposite will happen if your spouse is reckless but that is besides the point. Combining your policies will give you a discount and in the long run, that will bode well for your household budget.
Higher credit score. In the same way that you will benefit with a responsible driver as a spouse, you can also raise your credit ranking if you married a financially responsible person. If they have a great credit score, then you will most likely see an improvement in yours and you can use that to open more doors on financial opportunities. You can get more favorable terms on any loans that you will get – e.g. home loans, business loans, etc.
More employer benefits. You will also enjoy a different level of benefits from each other’s employers – if you are both working. If your spouse has better health benefits, you can share in that since you are now married. This is not really something that you qualify for automatically just because you already exchanged vows.
Better chance at financial stability. Lastly, your combined income and overall benefits will increase that chances of your household being in a financially stable condition. This is not just because you increased the overall income in the house. It is also because two heads are now sharing the burden and contributing towards the savings of the family.
Financial issues that can destroy your marriage
Now that you understand the benefits that you can gain from marriage, you need to know the various pitfalls that can destroy it for you. The personal finances and habits of the couple will not always be compatible and this is where they should really try to understand and communicate with each other.
Debt. On top of the list is debt. Your credit problems can lead to divorce and it is one of the major causes of fights between couples. If one or both are in debt, that can lead to stress, discontentment, tension and could explode when things get too difficult. When one is forced to sacrifice for the mistake of the other, that can lead to some serious complications.
Who pays for what. Another issue that you need to deal with involves the expenses at home. Couples who are both working usually end up splitting the bill in half. However, it is not always possible that you both incur the same amount of expenses. One will always spend more than the other. You need to talk about how you will manage your household budget and how your personal expenses will play out in it.
Who makes the financial decisions. When kids come into the picture, one of you will have to stay at home to take care of them. Sometimes, the one bringing home the income becomes the dominant decision maker. This is not a practice that is encouraged. Try to keep the deciding power balanced between you.
Spender vs saver. In some cases, people marry their opposites and that can also be true for the financial behavior. When you have both spender and saver in the relationship, you may want to kick up the communication a bit. If not, it can lead to a lot of resentment and misunderstanding – especially when you find your personal finances in trouble.
It seems like the key to make things work and keep your personal finances from ruining your marriage is communication. Here is a video that you can watch that discusses 4 mistakes that couples make that usually lead to divorce and how they should keep it from happening.