Many years ago Brad was talking with a woman who said that when she grew up she didn’t have anything. As a result, she decided not to deny her boys whatever they wanted. She was quite at peace with having over $80,000 on credit cards so that her boys could be indulged! We shudder to think about how those boys turned out and the survivability of her marriage.
Managing your money in marriage is a key to greater marital harmony and security. As a result, many couples don’t talk about money until they have to. By the time they finally broach the subject, tensions are high, defenses are up, heels are dug in, and each person is ready for a fight.
OR, the issue of money management is ignored altogether. When this happens, expenses get piled onto credit cards. Second mortgages or home equity loans are acquired, and the debt simply increases. Eventually the weight of debt creates a strain on marriage that is nearly unbearable.
With our previous post as a foundation for money management, here are four additional principles for managing your money in marriage:
1. KEEP a budget
Many couples don’t have an actual written budget. Some couples may write down their budget but not keep it. We urge you to write your budget together and KEEP it as well!
Sit down together and talk about how you will spend the 80% of your remaining income after giving to God and saving. Begin by writing down your fixed expenses. After that, apportion the remainder of your discretionary expenses. Dave Ramsey has built a wonderful FREE online budget tool called Every Dollar. We highly recommend this tool and the apps. You can find it here.
2. Have investment goals
If your company offers an employee matching program for retirement– use it! This is free money that is being made available to you that will multiply significantly over time. You can’t afford NOT to use it!
You don’t have to start with big financial investments. You just have to start somewhere! Make an appointment with a financial planner to discuss your retirement goals and what it will take to accomplish them. She or he will help you establish an account where you can regularly make deposits outside of your employment to accomplish your savings goals.
3. Agree on major purchases
A quick way to break trust with your spouse is to make a major purchase without their knowledge or consent. We have seen husbands or wives make purchases of vehicles, televisions, dogs, and furniture without discussing it with their mate. It is often viewed as a form of financial betrayal. When this happens resentment can build and significant damage is done to the relationship.
In our marriage, we have learned to talk through major purchases. We will postpone major purchases until we have agreement and peace. Waiting is not always easy but it is much easier than trying to repair broken trust!
Also, at the beginning of each year, we will sit down and talk about any major purchases we may hope to make that year. Then, we prioritize our list. This list becomes a motivator for us to save any discretionary income we may have through the year toward that goal. For example, we’ve been saving for two years to purchase a new mattress and should be able to purchase it this summer!
4. Review weekly
Make financial conversations a regular part of your marriage. This keeps communication open and builds understanding. It builds unity. Review your budget and expenses. Stay accountable on your giving and your saving. As you grow more unified in your financial management you will grow closer as you build your marriage!