There can be so many factors involved in maintaining a healthy and happy marriage; and maybe one of the most important is the issue of money. Money problems are leading causes of divorce. Conversely though, being open and honest about money and personal finances can lead to a happier and more successful marriage. While every marriage has its ups and downs, financial honesty is one thing that I’ve found has helped lead us to a happier, less stressful marriage.
Knowing our respective money roles, strengths and weaknesses
Over the years, we’ve figured out where our respective strengths and weaknesses lie when it comes to money, and we have divided our financial roles accordingly. Since my wife has worked in healthcare for a number of years, she handles all healthcare-related items such as reviewing bills and statements, resolving billing issues, and setting up appointments. Meanwhile, since I worked in finance and have a strong interest in money and money-related issues, I handle the paying of all other bills, maintain records, complete our annual income taxes, reconcile bank statements and account balances, and undertake similar items.
We each know our duties and who is responsible for what when it comes to various financial aspects. This reduces confusion regarding who is handling certain items and helps avoid issues where something is missed due to one of us thinking the other is taking care of it.
Talking about money openly, honestly, and actively
We talk about money regularly. Whether they’re minor costs or major outlays, staying apprised of all our spending helps cut down on confusion and keeps us better informed about where our money is going and in what amounts.
At dinner or when we’re out on a walk are great times for us to mention little expenses that have occurred throughout our day. Whether it’s an oil change for the car, a school fee, a birthday gift purchased for friend, family member or co-worker, an upcoming wedding gift that needs to be bought or similar item, these are times when we have an opportunity to discuss little purchases that might have been covered without the other person’s knowledge.
When it comes to larger financial issues – things like retirement account performance, overall net worth, or annual budget progress – we tend to sit down about once every quarter (rarely for more than half an hour or so) and discuss these items and any changes we’d like to make. In this way, we both remain on the same page when it comes to the overall bigger picture of our family finances.
Discussing the future, family, and finances
There may be few things more satisfyingly terrifying than having a child, buying a home, or similar event that while wonderful in some ways, can be extremely scary financially. Being prepared for such events and their costs can help keep stress and arguments to a minimum.
Discussing such topics ahead of their arrival can bring with it a certain amount of preparedness when they do. Whether it’s our goals for retirement, hopes for our children’s futures, or our dreams for an eventual living location or situation, talking about these things and potentially laying out timelines for their achievement helps us better understanding their feasibility and achievability so that we aren’t deluding ourselves regarding our family’s future.
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The author is not a licensed marriage counselor or financial or relationship professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.