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Six Marriage Killing Money Mistakes

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WeddingMarriage is hard work. Managing your money can be hard work. When you combine marriage and money, things can get emotionally heated, and difficult. If you aren’t careful, money can ruin your marriage.

As you get ready to wed — or even if you are already married — it’s a good idea to review your financial situation, and talk about the money. Make sure you’re on the same page, and try to avoid making these 6 money mistakes that could ruin your marriage:

1. Combining Finances Before You’re Ready

Some couples combine their finances because it’s what they think they are “supposed” to do. However, this can be problematic in some cases. You might not be ready to combine finances because of one spouse’s credit history, or for other reasons. Think about the situation, and decide what will work best for you. In some cases, it works to combine some accounts — for shared expenses — and keep some accounts separate.

2. Trying to Change Your Spouse’s Money Style

We all have different money styles. My husband and I are both spenders, but we like to spend our money on different things. I prefer experiences; he likes material possessions. In the past, it was hard for me not to be resentful when thinking about the places we could travel if we didn’t have a home full of clutter. However, trying to change him isn’t going to work. We can work through the differences, though, by acknowledging what’s important to the other person. Now, he gets a set amount he can spend on things, and I have money I can save up for travel, or other experiences. The goal should be to understand where your spouse is coming from, and then work out a plan that works for both of you.

3. Not Setting Shared Goals

One of the biggest money mistakes is a failure to set shared goals. Talk about what’s important to you, and then set goals that you can work on together. Whether it’s contributing to a retirement nest egg, or saving up for a cruise next year, it’s important to have money goals that draw you together. Talk about what you both want to accomplish, and look for things you can do together to reach your money goals.

4. Focusing Too Much on Stuff

Even though my husband thinks it’s fun to buy little character figures, he doesn’t focus too much on things. They don’t define him. They’re just fun things he likes to buy with his disposable income. A focus on things, or status, though, can be ruinous to a marriage. If you are more concerned with keeping up with the neighbors, or trying to look rich, rather than focusing on enriching your relationship, you will always be unhappy with what you have. That sort of materialism can result in debt, and strain in your marriage.

5. Forcing Traditional Roles

I have always been the primary breadwinner in our household. Before I started working from home, my husband cared for our son, staying home while I worked and he finished his degree. We could have had me stay home, as many traditional couples around us were doing, while my husband worked a job and went to school. But I was done with my degree, and my earning power was higher. So it made more sense for me to go to work. Don’t be so stuck in traditional roles that you give up opportunities to better your financial situation.

6. Keeping Money Secrets

Sometimes it’s called “financial infidelity.” No matter what name you give it, though, it’s a bad idea. Keeping money secrets from your spouse can result in problems later, especially in terms of trust. Be open about your finances, and let your spouse know what you are doing with the money.

What other money mistakes can ruin a marriage?

(Photo: MMarquit)

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4 Responses to “Six Marriage Killing Money Mistakes”

  1. Sun says:

    If you have child support to deal with or a bankruptcy, co-mingling your finances may not make sense. Otherwise, pooling your resources together makes sense. You are after all sharing your life together… finances should be a part of that. I often think how strange it is that married couples don’t share their finances. It is like a married couple that are not not allowed to eat from each other’s plates.

  2. Not disclosing the actual amount of debt one party is bringing into the marriage is a huge mistake. You want to start off a marriage with honesty and not being truthful about debt is definitely a problem. Along the same line, not being on the same page about debt payoff can definitely kill a marriage. If one partner is ready to get out of debt while the other partner is not, that can cause a tremendous amounts of problems.

  3. Jodie says:

    I’m curious to know what you think of changing ownership of assets acquired before marriage. Would that be considered combining finances? Should you share in profit generated from separately owned assets?

  4. Jennifer says:

    Don’t fight over money also while married.

    1.Couples should divide their money when paying for bills.

    2. Don’t let in-laws tell you who should pay the bills or how to pay.

    3. Don’t neglect helping your spouse with bills if they are unemployed or on a limited income.


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