There is no stop gap for money in marriage. If a couple is not on the same page regarding their finances, it could be detrimental to the relationship. In fact, issues with money is one of the top reasons for divorce around the world.
That statistic seems discouraging for young couples, but while disagreements with money can be damaging, working together on finances can be extremely rewarding—and it’s really not that hard with a few simple steps. Whether you’re engaged, a newly married couple or just two people looking to start over with finances, these are the best ways to make money work for your marriage.
It Starts With Communication
Even the most financially-conscious people will encounter differences in opinion with their partner. Before marriage, or even engagement, sit down with your partner and have the crucial discussion about how to handle finances.
This is the time to start planning for your future, but more importantly, this is a chance to finally come clean about your financial past. Any debt, loan, collection, bankruptcy or financial vice needs to come out of the closet before the knot is tied. Anyone in a strong, loving relationship can forgive a bad financial past in the beginning, but to keep it a secret years into a marriage can cause serious problems.
Agree on Joint Accounts
This goes beyond a simple joint checking account. Married couples can share anything from joint retirement accounts to joint loans like auto and mortgages. Some couples share everything, while others decide to stay completely separate. While joint accounts do have technical benefits, there’s no right answer here. The common theme with each of these points is to communicate up front.
Figure Out Insurance
Insurance coverage is easy when you’re single—one policy for one person—but the system gets more complex when there’s a marriage involved. These are some of the coverages you’ll want to streamline as a married couple:
- Health insurance, which usually comes with a full-time job. In a dual income household, only one person needs to hang onto his/her policy to cover their spouse.
- Life insurance typically covers up to a person’s salary with the option to purchase additional coverage.
- Long/short term disability will come in handy if one or both people are unable to work.
- Home, auto and other large-purchase coverage is now more important that ever for joint assets.
Find Where Responsibilities Lie
There are so many factors that go into deciding on who, if not both you and your spouse, will support the family—that goes for married couples with or without children. It’s true that working couples who share responsibilities at home are more likely to enjoy a happier marriage, but even if the workload isn’t balanced, it’s important to know where the line is drawn.
Leave behind the all-or-nothing mindset of income by exploring new opportunities together. Whether it’s supplementing income in the gig economy, going into business together or letting one person work full-time while the other works part-time, there is a combination out there that works for every couple. Companies like TaskRabbit, UpWork or Amway are great avenues for exploring entrepreneurial possibilities. And after all, isn’t finding adventurous ways to build a career as a couple what it’s all about?
Enjoy Your Money
Listen, money in marriage is not a bad thing. The truth is that money is supposed to get easier, not harder, in a marriage. Housing, food and other joint expenses all get better when there are two people sharing the bill instead of one. All it takes is learning to responsibly enjoy your money together.