By Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario
While they say that money is the root of all evil, I may not be able to put my moral stake in the ground when it comes to that statement, but I know that it can ruin many relationships.
Pick any relationship survey where couples have to answer what they fight about the most, and, cha-ching, you’re right, money comes out on top. It may be about not having enough money to pay the bills, or it most likely is about how each person in the relationship disagrees on how a person spends the household finances.
He’s annoyed that she’s bought more shoes, and she is screaming at him for supersizing their TV. Something that causes so much conflict has to be evil, right? Well, for those couples that create financial alignment, money does not have to become a source of discontent.
Here are some tips on creating financial alignment before you walk down that aisle:
- Communicate with each other on your viewpoint about money. Should you save? Why are we saving money? Should bank accounts be merged or kept separate? Should each person have pocket money? Who will pay which bills? Get agreement first, as this will serve as the ground rules for how you will govern the household finances.
- Create a budget and live by it. Regularly review the budget to see if anything needs to be changed.
- Ask before spending. Ask before spending doesn’t mean treating each other like children by getting the other’s permission. If anything, it helps each other from potentially spending unwisely on big purchases.
- Decide on a strategy to maintain good credit. Is there a budget? Good strategies will help you spend within your means. It will also determine if money is left over to buy things you enjoy.
- While you may not always agree on what money should be spent, make sure there is room in the budget for each spouse to make reasonable purchases that offer them individual pleasures. Agree to disagree and let each other indulge in treasured “stuff,” whether it is the latest fashion, football tickets, a spa treatment, or a new pair of headphones.
- Discuss your goals and support of each other’s financial worth that each of you may bring to the marriage and what that will mean for different aspects of your life together. For example, if you are both working and building careers or businesses, you need to ensure that jealousy is not something that can upend your marriage.
- Remember to be each other’s cheerleaders because the success and monetary gain from each person’s hard work are for both of you. Also, remember that everything that happens in your relationship is seasonal. You might start with the one with the golden egg, and in the next stage of the marriage, your spouse might be the one with the golden egg. And it might flip flop again.
Before you get married, try to agree on all of the above so that you don’t let money come between the two of you.