Scores of studies from across the world have pointed out that money is one of the major causes of stress and clashes between married couples. And the top three reasons which have attributed to such disagreement include spending frivolously, keeping financial secrets and hiding debts. If this sounds familiar, then it’s definitely not something you can sweep under the rug.
Below are our top five tips to help you handle money matters better with your spouse:
No room for secrets!
According to a 2014 study by American Express, 40 per cent of women and 33 per cent of men admit to making secretive purchases without letting their spouses know. What’s more, the study also revealed 22 per cent of men kept their partners in the dark when it came to existing debt as compared to 19 per cent of women.
While you may think a small lie would do no harm, it is healthier to adopt a ‘full disclosure policy’ with your partner. This not just strengthens the trust between the two of you, but also results in collaborative efforts that help you reach your financial goals together.
[Related: My money is your money?]
It’s time to talk about it
The study by American Express also pointed out that 48 per cent of spouses talk about money matters less often than once a week. This is hardly enough, especially when one is a spender and the other a saver. Ignoring the money talk only makes it more difficult to meet mid-way and walk in the same direction to achieve financial security.
The best way to settle the difference of opinions is to sit down with your partner and have a fair-minded discussion. Sketch out your short and long-term financial priorities such as savings, investments, children’s education, retirement, etc. and discuss your plan of action. What is it that you must compromise on now to have financial security tomorrow? How do you cut on the frivolous spending and which expenses are an absolute must?
Budgeting all the way
Another study by Allianz – LoveFamilyMoney 2014, sheds light on the stress-causing financial issues between couples. While 76 per cent are constantly worried about meeting future financial needs, 62 per cent are stressed about the day-to-day expenses. But with a simple solution called budgeting, both these problems can be tackled effectively.
A marriage calls for a lot of teamwork between the husband and the wife, not just to design their budget together, but also to follow and track it regularly.
Getting rid of the debt
If it’s debt that’s keeping you up at night, you are not alone. According to the study by Allianz, 56 per cent of spouses admitted to debt taking a toll on their marriage.
Being open about the debt situation with your partner is the key, even if the debt is from before you got married, a student loan for instance. Also, make sure not to take on additional debt without letting your spouse know. This not just creates mistrust in the relationship, you also get caught in a debt spiral, taking on more debt to hide what you owe. Eliminate the blame game and focus on working as a team to become debt-free sooner.
[Related: 4 ways men and women treat money differently]
Celebrating financial milestones
With all that work you both put in, don’t forget to cheer each other on. Whether it’s the monthly savings goal that your partner exceeded, or the great vacation deal they found that saved you big bucks, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate it.
Regardless of what your current financial situation is, an open, transparent and realistic approach towards money can help you and your spouse set the groundwork for a more compatible and rewarding financial journey together.