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Sorting Through The Financial Issues That Come With Getting Married

27 October 2009 3 Comments

Getting married is one of the things that many people experience for the first time during their 20s (I’m still a newly wed).  Financial issues are some of the most common issues that people have to work out when you get married.  Merging finances, salaries, spending habits, saving habits and everything else can easily cause tension.  There is a way to methodically get through this transition and be able to focus on your relationship rather than your finances.

Tip #1: Understand Each Other’s Spending Habits

I personally think this is the toughest thing to get through.  Just about every married couple I know has the same situation.  One person in the relationship is a spender and the other is a saver.  It’s pretty even with regards to whether the female or the male is the spender from my personal experience.

The spending habits of the spender can easily become a frustration for the saver in the relationship.  Sometimes, though not as often, the saving habits of the saver can be frustrating to the spender (“stop being so cheap!”).  Most couples know who is the saver is and who the spender is but it’s important to talk about it together.  The spender isn’t necessarily wrong or bad, but just has different tendencies than the saver.  The spender should acknowledge ways to cut back in certain areas and the saver should maybe acknowledge some areas where it might be acceptable to spend a little money (i.e. dates with your spouse).

Tip #2: Both Partners Need To Be Involved

Another important tip is that both partners need to be involved.  It’s easy for the financially-oriented person to take over the finances of your marriage and keep them to yourself.  This person will never get the other person to take part in your financial goals if he or she is never involved.

My wife and I use mint.com to stay on top of our spending together.  We both login and check out where we are each month.  Since I’m more on top of our finances, instead of complaining about my wife’s spending, I’ll encourage her to login to Mint.com, check out where we are, and to let me know how she thinks we’re doing on spending.

Tip #3: Discuss Financial Goals Together

Now that both of you are involved, it’s important to discuss and agree on financial goals.  You’ll never get your wife to stop spending money at the spa if she doesn’t buy in to long term savings goals.  Note that it’s unlikely that you both will have the same goals right off the bat.  You may need to discuss your goals and offer why you think you should strive towards such a goal.  Be reasonable and be willing to compromise a little bit.

Tip #4: Make Compromises

As I just mentioned, compromises will always be a part of two people living under one financial umbrella.  The key is to be reasonable and gentle with your spouse.  Allow your spouse to take part in some of the things he or she enjoys as long as the spending is within reason.  If your husband likes to golf, allow him to play every once in a while.  If your wife likes to get her hair done, give her the opportunity to do so on occasion.  By giving a little in certain areas, your spouse is much more likely to respond to your overall financial goals such as retiring early perhaps.

Tip #5: Seek Out Resources & Advice

If you still struggle after implementing everything in this article, you should consider looking into some outside help.  Go through a Crown Ministries financial course with your spouse, or go through a Dave Ramsey book together.  Also, seek advice from people in your lives (preferably married couples) that can offer sound advice and can identify with your situation.

3 Comments »

  • april said:

    You forgot to mention being considerate and understanding. If your partner has a hobby or activity that they really enjoy, do not begrudge them spending some money on themselves. Even better, take the a small amount of money and spend it together on their activity or hobby. That way your spouse knows you support them, and you get to remind them how much you love them by allowing yourself to spend a little extra on them. Most people would be surprised at how much more joy, appreciation, and consideration will be in their marriage if they take the time to "spoil" their partner every so often. (the definition of spoil in this case is to do something out of the ordinary that you know invokes strong loving feelings in your SO)

  • 20smoney (author) said:

    Great advice April! I completely agree.

  • ozzzie19 said:

    Perfect timing as I’m getting married this weekend. We’ve got all of the above down pat, but I’ve got one logistical question regarding credit cards (I know this isn’t your forte, but just thought I’d throw the question out there). I have a long credit history with balances being paid off every month, however my soon to be wife hasn’t had a long credit history (but she does pay off balances each month). We each opened up a Starwood and an American Airlines Advantage cards a while ago in preparation for using points for our honeymoon. These are the only two credit cards she has and they are two of the handful that I have (I’ve kept my old ones open for credit history even though I mainly use the new ones for points). We’d like to consolidate cards. Would it be a good idea to cancel her cards and put her on my cards since she doesn’t have a long history with those cards and we aren’t going to be applying for any loans any time soon (or visa versa, cancel my two and put me on hers)?