One of my grandchildren is getting married this June. He is a graduate student and she is a school teacher. I feel obliged to talk to them about love and money.
Both are level-headed intelligent people. However, neither has ever been married before. I have been married three times. Therefore, I think I should lend a little advice.
Threat to Marital Bliss
I will talk to them about love and commitment. However, my most important advice will be about love and money.
According to marriage.com, forty-one percent of divorces are caused by money problems. Therefore, money may determine the success or failure of a marriage.
Finding Your Love and Money Dynamic
My main advice is to assess financial strengths and weaknesses. Doing this now can avert many problems later.
You may find your partner is a big spender who lives paycheck-to-paycheck and you are a planner and saver. All is not lost. By taking an objective look at your money habits, you can find where you need to come to common ground.
Show, Don’t Tell
Communication is an important part of any relationship. However, telling someone how to change a bad habit can lead to conflict.
If you are a planner/saver and your intended runs through money as soon as he/she gets it – you two need to talk. But you need to do it in a non-confrontational way. You need to show them how saving can get them something they want.
You and your fiance may agree that you want to own a house in ten years. That is a long way out for someone who can’t budget enough Monday to buy a latte Tuesday.
Start with a much smaller near-term objective. For instance, you might plan a long weekend getaway. Sit down with your partner and work out how much transportation, lodging, food, and other expenses will be. Then put money away each week to meet your goal. In addition, it helps to share your saving progress with your partner.
Once, you have achieved a couple of small goals, it will be time to move on to bigger ones.
Questions the newly webs should ask themselves include:
- How do you handle credit cards? How many do you have and how do you pay for them? You should agree on a strategy. Consider consolidating all your credit card debt in one or two cards. In addition, you should specify how they will be used. Also, you should budget payments.
- What does your credit report show? If one or both of you have problems, you must work out a plan to resolve them.
- Do you have a system for paying bills? If so, what is it?
- Do you have a system for saving income each month? How will that change in marriage?
- If you want to have children, will one of you stay home with them?
- How comfortable are you with debt? If one of you loses sleep over debt, the other has to be sensitive to that. Anguish over bills can erode a good relationship, therefore, debt must be managed accordingly.
The Federal Trade Commission has some free information on budgeting and debt.
- How to Live Solely on Interest
- How Much Interest Does 1 Million Dollars Earn Per Year?
- There is No Need to Live Outside Your Means
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Max K. Erkiletian began writing for newspapers while still in high school. He went on to become an award-winning journalist and co-founder of the print magazine Free Bird.
He has written for a wide range of regional and national publications as well as many on-line publications. That has afforded him the opportunity to interview a variety of prominent figures from former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Paul Volker to Blues musicians Muddy Waters and B. B. King.
Max lives in Springfield, MO with his wife Karen and their two cats. He spends as much time as possible with his kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.