Money has caused more pain and heartache for countless numbers of people, and never has financial strain been more prevalent than it is now what with the current economic climate. Further, it's been reported that more marriages collapse and lead to divorce over financial issues than for any other reason.
So good communication and financial compatiblity between spouses about money matters is imperative for a healthy lasting relationship. But often it it's not until each party submits the required financial filings to the divorce court, that secrets of a couple's finances are revealed.
Here are some tips for promoting financial harmony. And they just might help prevent a split in the first place.
#1: Don't keep financial secrets from your spouse, particularly debt issues. Separate checking and savings accounts and undisclosed purchases may be the first step toward serious problems.
Lack of honesty in money matters may indicate a pattern of non-communication in other marital aspects. The stress of not having sufficient income to pay the bills will lead to arguments with your spouse about household issues which could result in divorce. It's tough to establish a budget to live by if both parties aren't aware of the income and expenses.
Of course, some experts say keeping separate accounts are a good idea. The thinking goes both ways...
#2: Know how you spend marital money. Use a spreadsheet to log in 12 months worth of income and expenditures. This will give you an overview of how you spend your money and where there may be shortfalls.
Establishing a monthly budget for housing, utilities, food, entertainment, transportation, repairs/replacements gifts and debt will help keep expenditures under control. Ideally no more than 30% of one's gross income should be spent for rent or mortgage payments. A budget should limit revolving credit payments to 10-15% of gross income.
An ideal budget should allocate 10% of takehome pay toward debt. Both partners need to realize an unbalanced budget demands increased income or cuts in spending!
#3: Women generally have more financial fears than men. Women are socialized to believe they're more desirable if they perpetuate the cultural myth that they won't be loved if they don't accept financial dependency.
The truth is both women and men need to be educated about money management issues. Today with dual-income marriages, many women are earning good salaries that, in some cases, outpace their partners' earnings. Still, debt remains a potent issue for couples. Too, men and women's ideas about money can be very different.
Both parties may come to a marriage with huge student loans and other debt. Financial secrets make things worse. Do money problems ultimately lead to divorce? Some experts say yes, but other researchers say money issues play a lesser role in divorce.
It's true that money conflict exacerbates other tensions present in the marriage. Debt loads can be a predictor of divorce when a couple feels trapped in a hopeless and draining financial situation. It can certainly make you feel less loving toward your spouse!