MoneyMoments | MidFirst Bank
Marriage and Money

Marriage and Money

Did you know that approximately one-third of Americans report that money is a big source of conflict in their relationships? Being on the same page about money is crucial to a healthy, harmonious marriage. Ideally, couples will discuss financial expectations, spending habits, accumulated debt and attitudes about money before getting married. Whether you are already married or not, it is never too late to have important conversations about money.

Communication Is Key

Practice open communication as a couple when it comes to financial expectations, spending habits and debt. Sit down together to determine your shared short-term and long-term financial goals. Perhaps you have a short-term goal of saving for new furniture or a long-term goal of paying off debt. Once you are in agreement with your financial vision, create a monthly budget to help reach your goals. The budget should determine where you will spend money each month, and how much you will set aside for future goals.

Shared and Personal Priorities

As a couple, it’s important to allocate dollars to your personal and your shared financial priorities. Your partner may be an avid runner who needs a category in the budget for running gear and race registrations, while you may enjoy painting and require a category for paint supplies. When a partner is restricted from their passions, it can negatively affect the marriage. Listen to each other’s desires and make them a priority.

Joint vs. Individual Accounts

A point of contention for many couples is whether they should combine finances and bank accounts. The answer varies for each couple. Whether or not you decide to combine accounts, you should be on the same page when it comes to finances ─ such as how the bills will be paid each month, what size purchases should be jointly decided, etc. Sharing financial accounts is not as important as sharing financial goals.

Debt and Credit

It’s crucial to understand how debt and credit can play a role in your marriage. Everyone has their own unique credit history and credit score. If your partner enters the marriage with debt, you are not responsible for that debt. If your spouse enters the marriage with a poor credit history, it will not affect your score. However, their poor credit score can negatively affect your ability to borrow money in the future if you plan to borrow jointly. Joint credit will influence both of your credit scores. The key is to have open communication about existing debt and credit attitudes.

Money Dates

Regularly review and discuss your progress toward your financial goals. A monthly “money date” is an easy way to have this conversation in an atmosphere that is casual and comfortable. Come to the discussion with an open mind and compromising heart. This is your opportunity to revisit your short- and long-term goals, evaluate expenses, and discuss any changes needed to reach your dreams. Compromising on spending is much easier when you keep your eyes on the bigger financial picture. Regular money discussions prevent negative surprises and keep you both focused on meeting your financial goals.

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