Many marriages go through ups and downs when it comes to their financial stability. Finances can truly test your relationship because of how and when you pay for important and non-important things that bring stress to one or both of you. Don’t let yourself get caught up in foolish arguments in your marriage over how much money to spend at the grocery store. Knowing how to manage your finances effectively can help to set your marriage on solid footing when it comes to your financial peace and future.
Whether or not you both work to bring income into the home doesn’t matter. In some families both the husband and wife work outside the home. In others, one is a make a home spouse and one is a work outside the home spouse. Still in other families, one may work from home while one works outside the home. And of course, some couples work together, or even both work from home. The truth is, you are in a marriage and together you are both responsible for your finances.
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Many times couples work best when one person manages the day-to-day finances which include making minor purchases, paying utilities, mortgages, and balancing the checking account. Then, when it comes to making larger purchases, making long-term financial decisions, and making investments into the future the couple works together to make the best possible decision.
What is most important in the marriage is that both of you feel that you can communicate effectively with your partner, on all levels of financial decisions. Effectively communicating about your financial situation will help both of you to have the same understanding of where you are and where you want to be.
But, even with the best of intentions, couples can find themselves in financial difficulties from time to time. This can happen due to unforeseen circumstances, or from lack of planning. Either way, those times can be very stressful on the marriage relationship.
I’ve gathered some tips to help you deal with these situations as quickly and calmly as possible. Communication is key to peacefully resolving any financial issue which may arise.
5 Tips for Managing Financial Issues
1.) Choose a Good Time to Communicate
Finding a time when you can sit down and have a discussion with your partner can be difficult. After all, you are busy, you probably have kids that demand your time, and one or both of you have work obligations. And, if you are like my family, you have other responsibilities that can be demanding as well, such as your role at church, or a community organization.
A great way to ensure you have the time to discuss finances is to set aside a one time a month corporate family meeting. This gives you a set time touch base on where the income and debts are being allocated, discuss any upcoming decisions that need to be made, and share any concerns for what might be an issue.
This discussion should be between just the two of you. However, if you have older kids, you can bring them into the discussion as necessary to inform them of any decisions that may affect them. This way you and your spouse can present a united front and you are setting a good example for how to manage finances for your kids’ futures.
2.) Understand Your Roles
Regardless of your belief in the roles in a marriage, it’s important to know who is going to be responsible for each part of your financial obligations. So to that end, assign roles as you would in a business.
For example, for a long time in our marriage I paid bills, did the grocery shopping and entered receipts into our checking register. Once a month, my husband would go in and balance and reconcile the checkbook. We each knew the roles we were performing and if a problem arose we could work together to determine what happened and make decisions for how to resolve the issue. Because we were both aware of where our finances stood at any given moment we could each make day to day decisions as needed.
Perhaps one of you is better with math and the other is better with communication. It could be that the math-minded person manages to pay the bills and reconcile your banking while the other person serves to communicate via phone or email with various banking, utility, or creditors on behalf of the family.
The important key is that both of you respect each role you take in the financial stability of your family, you treat each other with common courtesy and work together to achieve your goals.
3.) Be Prepared
Whoever is responsible for the day to day management of your finances should write down anything that needs to be discussed. Have your checkbook or banking statements on-hand to be prepared to share information and answer any questions.
Both of you should write down ahead of time anything you want to discuss. This will allow you to stay on track and manage each point one by one.
Work together to formulate a plan of action for the month ahead.
4.) Keep Calm
Finances can be a trigger point for emotions. It is important to remember that during these discussions your goal is for both of you to be on the same page for where you are and where you want to be.
Try not to speak against each other with personal attacks. Even if there is a problem it’s best to work together to resolve the problem rather than blaming each other for how you got into the situation.
The purpose of this monthly meeting is not to be argumentative. Rather, it is to be informative and structured to work together to work toward a common goal.
Treat it similarly to how you would treat a business meeting. Because it is a financial business meeting for your family.
5.) Make a Plan
Whatever way you decide to approach a financial discussion, remember the importance of working together to formulate a plan. Discuss any difficult situations, or perhaps an exciting prospect as you plan the future with your spouse.
Make sure you work together to formulate a basic budget and set it in place. At each meeting, verify that the budget is being held to, and or adjust it as necessary depending on what your current situation is.
It’s also a good idea to compile a money to-do list and for both of you to understand who will do what to ensure the to-do list gets completed. Check-in with each other from time to time to discuss your progress.
Remember, your relationship and the love you have for each other is the most important aspect of the conversation. That means you should approach these discussions with listening ears and open hearts. Be sure to listen to what your partner has to say and also be willing to share your opinions.
Even if a difficult conversation must be had, staying calm and focused on making a plan is better to resolve the problem. You can always set aside a separate time to share the emotional aspects of how you feel about the situation. Let the financial discussion be a time of resolution rather than argumentation.
What are your best tips for managing money issues in your marriage?
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