When you think of the issues newlyweds are likely to face, you might begin to picture battles over how to share the physical space, discussions on when to start a family or even the interference of in-laws in the new marriage, but all this is balanced with the joy of waking up next to the person you love. Money doesn’t usually enter your realm of consciousness until there is a problem.
To avoid falling into these financial pitfalls, newlyweds would do well to identify them from early on so they would be better able to deal with them when they arise or avoid all together.
Dragging Heavy Financial Baggage into a Marriage
In the same way that you should not enter your marriage with pent up emotional baggage, your financial baggage ideally should be taken care of or at least openly discussed before you walk down the aisle. It is unfair to unpack a mountain of debt on the shoulders of your partner because they have agreed to love and cherish you for richer or for poorer. Of course, one person’s debt should become a problem that both parties will work to solve, but it must be done with sensitivity to preserve your newly forged trust.
Giving One Person Complete Financial Control
One person may have a higher financial acumen and be more inclined to take care of money matters but this is not to say that the responsibility should fall to this person only while the other lives in ignorant bliss. It is simply not smart to hand complete control of the financial matters to one person, because this makes one person overwhelmed and the other exposed, because they may have no idea where to turn in case of an emergency.
Playing Secrets with Money Matters
Secrets are the enemy of trust and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage. It follows therefore that harboring money secrets is a bad idea. It might start off innocently enough, because you may want to avoid an argument over some money spent for instance, but it can spiral into bigger issues if you are not careful. It is much better to have an open money policy and to make decisions about money together.
Not Putting Emphasis on a Budget
When you have to bring two different lifestyles you can expect to have some rough patches, but budgeting is one of the methods you can use to smooth over these turbulent times. You and your partner may have different approaches to spending and saving, you may also have different priorities. Setting a budget will bring all these issues to the forefront and help to develop a strategy for allocating funds in a way that is satisfactory to both sides.
Putting Too Much Emphasis on a Budget
While budgeting is absolutely necessary, you can take a good thing too far. Some people start using the budget as a weapon to nail their partner to the wall when they stray from the plan and this can lead to some destructive arguments. It is also important not to get too caught up in splitting everything down the middle as this can start to make your marriage feel like a business transaction. Remember to strive for balance and compromise, but not necessarily equality in terms of dollars and cents.
Marriage is hard enough without throwing in a financial wild card, so it pays to be prepared to handle money matters. Of course, you should always temper your money discussions by remembering the love and respect you have for each other.