“Marriages are made in heaven” and by the time couples settle down to live the marriage, it comes down to earth. Well, this is a humorous take on marriage and finance. Though marriage is the oldest social institution and provides a foundation, it also has political and economic factors too. In the 21st century however couples are confused on how to navigate financially through the marriage. Because the concept of “Finance” and “Money” too has evolved over the years.
Couples often have mismatched money styles–one is a spender while the other is a saver. Though this is the best combination and if both the energies can be balanced then finance is not a heartbreaking matter to deal with at home. But to meet at that common point is the real test. If left unchecked, couples end up working against each other, causing fights and tensions. Theoretically, successful couples don’t try to change each other. They adapt their money styles to work for both of them. Here are some simple strategies to combat marital finance.
- Materialism VS Relationship:
When couples come together, they have to understand each other’s belief about money. Many couples put materialistic pleasures ahead of the relationship. Again, it’s not the lack of money, but the use of money that matters. Some examples are, unbalanced lifestyles, feelings of guilt over spending, unrealistic financial expectations (in spending, saving, or investing). Acknowledging that this is a gap is the first step towards building a bridge. Being open-minded, non-judgemental and empathetic to partner’s ideas, expectations and problems with money is the key. We all have anxiety trigger points that can occur concerning finances. So communicating about these openly will make the job easier.
- Past Vs present:
Just like every other experience from childhood or growing up influences our current thought process, money or financial background too has its bearings in the present. So, to discuss completely the way a spouse felt about money in the past is important. How was money earned, saving strategy, if budget was planned, where was investment being made, how their loans and debts cleared. These are yardsticks by which one can assess how money can be used effectively in the present.
- Earning Vs spending :
Both earning members/ both spend, one earning member/both spend, one earning member/ no one spends, both earning members/ no one spends. Many combinations exist. But the true picture of earning and spending depends on if both are aware of how much is totally earned and totally spent. Maintaining transparency is not a barrier but is infact a passage for smoother understanding. There could be difference of opinion about a certain expenditure, but never should there be a discrepancy regarding money. This leads to mistrust and arguments. Not worth it.
- Individual VS Joint account:
The choice to have accounts is totally dependent on the couple. Both need to empower each other with financial decisions, have trust with money and have mutual respect for each other. Full financial disclosure of individual and joint accounts is a major part. Both have to be honest and discuss financial position, as a couple and individually.
- Goals Vs Budgets:
If a couple does not have a plan, then no goal is marked which means no budget is fixed. Each term is dependent on each other. Making a plan, setting a clear long term or short term goal and accordingly allocating a budget is a fun activity for couples. If done with positivity and enthusiasm. So, if one spouse is taking care of monthly expenses then the other can keep track of long term goals like retirement, annual vacations etc
Again, it is important to remember that there is no single rule concerning managing money in marriage. Marriage itself has gone through an evolution, so the financial aspect too has seen a metamorphosis. Just remember that our monetary plans can transform and mature just as our relationship will.
You may also want to read other articles written by the same author ‘Decoding Stress‘, ‘Communication made easy…‘, , ‘Personal Finance Planning’, ‘Are you financially fit?’, ‘3 M’s… Mantra for Morale‘ , ‘Tips for effective interaction with management’, ‘Adapting to global work culture – locally‘, ‘8 Advantages of Online tutoring as a work from home career‘, ‘6 Tips for health management at workplace‘.
About the author:
Padmaja Acharya – From the ancient language of Sanskrit comes my name ‘Padmaja’, derived from Padma (meaning lotus) and Ja (meaning to take birth from). A woman as created by the divine. An Engineer and MBA by virtue of education. A dance choreographer, teacher by virtue of passion. A soft skill trainer and educator by profession. An author and speaker as guided by my calling. This is what encompasses me.
(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)
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