Posted by: anxiouslyengaged | December 3, 2008

Getting on the Same Financial Page

money

You’ve found the man or woman of your dreams. You’re in love. You’re about to get married. Why should you waste time talking about finances now; there will be plenty of time for that later, right? Wrong! Although money is not explicitly the primary reason for most divorces, it is undoubtedly a recurring factor among them. Money, whether you have a little or a lot, is a potential hotbed for disagreement, contention, and discord.

 

So what solves the problem? That you’re both frugal? No. That you’re both rich? No. That you’re both willing to eradicate your lives of all types of currency and primitively live off the land without any contact from the outside world? Well, maybe. But an easier approach would be to just communicate.

 

Communication might not solve everything, but it is amazing how having honest and open financial discussions can change a relationship for the better. We all have opinions about money. Whether our experience is based on picking out ramen noodles at the grocery store or shopping for the next stock to add to our 401k, we each have preconceived notions about spending, saving, and budgeting.

 

Imagine a couple, while in courtship, never acknowledging each other’s opinions on financial matters. Now imagine that couple after the honeymoon stage—it’s a scary thought, isn’t it? What will happen when one partner begins spending faster than the other partner can earn? What will happen when the budding family goes to make big-ticket purchases? Eventually the conversation on money will happen—but at that point, it may be too late.

 

Early (and frequent) financial discussions can preempt such heartache. When both partners openly share their financial views and desires, common ground can be found. The point of communicating is to accurately gauge where each partner currently is, and then find commonality. That means that both partners need to honestly express their thoughts.

 

You will not agree on everything. Recognize that and embrace that. As always, love and compromise should be what fortifies the discussion. When each partner is open about his or her expectations, compromises can be made and happiness reached. But that happens only when both partners actually contribute.

 

Talk about what spending habits you envision your family having. Discuss what percentage of income should go to your rainy-day savings, what should go to long-term investments, what should go to the charity down the street. See what debt both parties are bringing to the union. Draft a family budget and find ways to incorporate the best of both of your views. Most importantly, get on the same page. When it comes to money, nothing will help more than deciding on and sticking to sound financial principles that were happily developed together.

 

Written by Elizabeth Harris

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Responses

  1. fantastic post, my fiancee would love to read this site.. thanks for sharing


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