Do not get married to your significant other without discussing money matters. Avoid marital distress down the line. Become financially savvy. And make informed decisions about your finances.
According to Investopedia, 33% of adults with partners report that money is a big source of conflict in their relationships. Similarly, among married couples, financial problems are also considered a leading cause of divorce. Therefore, avoid these five money mistakes to prevent distress in your marriage.
5 Money Mistakes to Avoid
1. Not Discussing Money In Courtship
The courtship period is for intending couples to know each other better. A critical success factor in marriage is financial wellness. Yet, most couples give only a cursory glance, if at all, to money matters before marriage.
There is an erroneous assumption that everything will fall in place once you’re married. That is not always the case. For instance, undisclosed, undiscussed issues concerning how to handle money as a couple can tip the table of marital bliss in the wrong direction.
You realize at that point that you are not on the same page where money is concerned. This brings tension into the marriage. If left unchecked it can develop into major cracks that put the marriage at risk.
Financial infidelity occurs in a marriage when couples do not disclose to each other their financial dealings. This is not healthy and could lead to mistrust.
It is best to put your cards on the table early on. Discuss your individual money views. I am not saying you should reveal every detail of your bank balance or monies made before you came together. However, be transparent in your financial dealings.
Learn to be open to each other about how you hope to conduct your financial affairs going forward as a couple when you tie the knot.
2. Not Drafting a Plan for Your Desired Life
This period is a good time to discuss your future dreams and aspirations. You are first of all an individual in your own right with dreams. Therefore, bring your aspirations forward. And craft a win-win life plan that allows both of you to find fulfillment.
At this, point you might want to be as specific about what you want as you can be. Be authentic in expression. Equally, be true to yourself about what you want. If your partner’s dreams are not resonating with you then explore more deeply your “Whys” to get more clarity.
Do not short-change yourself because you want to get married. As such, do not acquiesce to a future you don’t want. Get a picture of the future you both want as a family. And picture your children in it.
Articulate the life you want to give them. Try to envision your life together in every season of life. State how you will navigate the summer, spring, autumn, and winter season of life.
Get an idea of what you want to happen. Of course, life is not in your control but it helps to have a plan as a guide. Many couples went into marriage hoping for the best.
Each had an idea of what that best might look like. But as we can see that is not always the case. The high rate of disagreements and divorce in some cases is an indicator that it takes more than love to keep a marriage. You need a plan to guide your affairs. Otherwise, each person will default to what they have always known, which might not be the best stance for the relationship.
3. Not Creating a Financial Plan to Fund the Life You Want
You need to fund your life. The plan you made above, is just to tell you what will be in it. Armed with the information about how you want your life to be, allows you to estimate what it would cost to achieve it in the present.
Further, extrapolate what it would likely cost to have this same lifestyle in the future. The future is where you both will be living together as husband and wife.
This cost is not just in direct monetary terms but also in time, emotions, needed sacrifices, and the opportunity cost of what you have to give up to achieve your goals.
For example, what type of job, for instance, will allow you to travel as you like, fund your children’s education easily or build a house at a particular time. These are just examples of what you should fund in your life plan.
At this point, you may want to discuss either or both parties working full-time to fund your lifestyle. In addition, consider the possibility of starting a family.
This new phase will bring with it discussions of single or dual-income family living, depending on if one of you decides to be a stay-at-home mom or dad, or neither.
To help keep you on track in your marriage you need to create a financial plan. Nothing fancy. It can be as simple as just listing what you want in bullet points. Put your estimates beside each factor being considered. You need to estimate the cost required and from where you will fund it from.
4. Not Understanding Your Money Personality
Who you are with money determines to a large extent your financial success. Knowing yourself can give you an insight into your money personality. Are you a Spender or a Saver?
What are your money habits? Do you shop when you’re moody to lift your spirits?
Are you generous to a fault? Or, you spend to entertain others at the expense of your financial well-being.
Are you an impulsive spender who believes all purchases are necessary, only to discover there is nothing left to address real issues?
Delayed Gratification and Frugality are some of the pillars of wealth building. If these are not your default mode in financial matters then you might need to allow your more prudent half to handle your finances so your dream life is not derailed.
If both of you are Spenders then you need coaching to assist you in eliminating self-defeating money habits.
5. Not Having a Backup Plan If Plan 1 Derails
Life happens and nothing is cast in concrete. A plan is meant to guide and can be tweaked to accommodate the realities of the life you’re living.
Your reality could be glorious with many successes, and your life great. In such a situation, you achieve your financial goals earlier.
If you do experience a more adverse outcome, the possibility of achieving your goals is not necessarily dimmed but the financial plan would have to be tweaked or changed.
Make provision for a backup by anticipating all kinds of circumstances that could be considered adverse then put in a contingency of how to mitigate the risk associated with each of them.
Adverse circumstances could be job loss, medical expenses, bankruptcy, etc. A backup plan will greatly lessen the effect of such circumstances on you and your family if such adversity were to occur.
What Should You Do Instead?
Take the bull by the horns and discuss financial matters with your spouse-to-be before you tie the knot. Create a fun life that mirrors your desires and aspirations with life, marriage, and children.
Openly talk about what you want from life and what you expect from your spouse-to-be. Each of you should take turns to express yourself.
Don’t live another person’s life but both of you should craft a life you both desire, where you don’t eclipse one another but complement each other. Read my post on 7 Steps To Improve Your Financial Situation.
Also, find out if you are good with money by taking this financial quiz.
Are you good with money? Take this free quiz, to find out.
Check out your Money Personality also by taking this easy test.
Are you a Saver or a Spender?
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