Marriage and finances. A match made in hell. Why do these so often go together like oil and water? Why is money such a contentious topic in most households?
It’s because people go through life differently. Depending on how you were raised, what you learned, and what you personally experienced, your money philosophy will be different from that of your spouse.
Before we talk about that, however, I’d like to touch on financial stability and why the growing trend is being financially stable before committing to someone.
It makes sense from a psychological perspective. Having financial stability makes you appear more mature and that you have your priorities straight. People who see that, probably see someone that’s ready for a commitment.
Additionally, getting married, and marriage in general, can be an expensive endeavor.
Obviously, it depends on the wedding you want, but the average price tag on a wedding nowadays is around $25,000 (source). Add onto that a honeymoon that could take you to another state, if not another country, and you’re spending a lot of money within the first month of being married.
What, historically, follows is a house and kids. Both, though worth every penny and minute, are expensive.
Because everyone has a different experience, and there are so many of them out there, I can’t go into detail about every one of them. Instead, I’ll speak generally about what they are trying to do.
People are trying to get out of or get a firm grasp on their debt. Whether it’s student loans, credit card debt, or medical bills, nobody wants to go into a committed relationship, let alone marriage, with a significant amount of debt.
Not only does debt hinder you from putting it towards future wants and needs, but when you get married, your debt becomes your spouse’s debt as well. You don’t want to burden them with that.
People want to be financially stable going into a marriage so they can afford the wants that often come with marriage, and they don’t want to be sacked with debt that brings down the family balance sheet.
Another piece of the financial puzzle that people try improving is their credit score. Your credit score plays a factor in almost every important life event. Where you live, where you work, and what you drive, your score could play a role.
Your financial philosophy is how you view money and how you use it.
Are you a saver or a spender? Do you view credit cards as a tool or a money sucker? When you do spend, do you prefer to buy stuff or experiences? Would you rather invest with the chance to earn more or put those dollars in a savings account for safekeeping?
As I mentioned before, your upbringing, what you’ve learned, and your personal experiences shaped the answers to these questions.
When you commit to a relationship, you’re going to have different answers. The key with any part of marriage, and money is no exception, are compromise and communication. You have to find some middle ground so each individual is getting their needs met, to an extent.
What you have to do is sit down with your significant other, dive deep into each other’s life experiences with regard to money, and what’s important to you, both now and in the future.
Once you have a good understanding of where you’re both coming from and what you want, you can work together to develop a plan, and once you have that plan, you can start executing