It’s no secret that couples who argue about money are more likely to divorce. Financial problems come in many forms. Your husband could suddenly lose his job, putting all the responsibility on you to pay the bills. You might suffer a moment of weakness while shopping and splurge on a big ticket item before consulting your spouse. You may have neglected to talk about money before getting married only to discover after saying “I do” that you don’t have the same mentality when it comes to saving and spending. What’s worse is you may discover a mountain of debt from your spouse’s past that wasn’t discussed until after the wedding. In all of these cases, his financial problems are now your financial problems and vice versa.
So how can you keep the harmony when money issues arise? It’s never too late to talk about problems. If you’re an over-spender, this could redefine the meaning of “retail therapy.” Sit down, get comfortable, and be prepared to handle some harsh realities. Conversations like this are easier to cope with when you plan in advance. Set aside some time each month to talk about money. Put it in your schedules! It gives each person time to prepare and get in the right head space before the conversations take place.
Let’s look at some of the specific issues mentioned above and some ways to handle such problems after the fact.
Suddenly losing your job can create tension and anxiety in a relationship. One of you is now earning money to care for both, and if there are children involved, the stress multiplies! Here are some things that can help you stay afloat during this difficult time:
1) Act quickly to reduce spending and reevaluate your monthly budget and short-term monetary needs.
2) Avoid cashing out your retirement plan.
3) Consider the help of a qualified, licensed financial advisor or planner.
4) File for unemployment benefits with the Department of Workforce Development.
Many of us are guilty of splurging without thought from time to time. But when you’re in a relationship, your careless use of cash can hurt your spouse. We can’t all count on the “wife says no, Apple says yes” urban legend to bail us out. For those unfamiliar with this tale, it’s rumored that an Apple employee discovered a returned iPad with a sticky note attached that said simply, “wife says no.” Bravo to the husband who returned an expensive item in an effort to keep the peace with his wife. Allegedly, Apple sent the iPad right back with a note of their own that said, “Apple says yes.” Don’t expect this to happen to you. If you can return the item without penalty, do it. If that’s not an option, you should discuss ways to prevent such reckless spending in the future. For those of you who struggle with impulse purchasing, try this strategy when shopping. When you see something you want, either online or in the store, walk away. Wait twenty-four hours, and if you still feel like you can’t live without that item and can afford it, then you can head back to the store or your online shopping cart and buy it.
Saver vs. Spender
You probably already know your own spending personality, but do you know your spouse’s? This is a chat couples should have BEFORE walking down the aisle, but it’s never too late to examine your financial compatibility. Here are some questions to help you get the conversation started:
1) How much debt do you have?
2) How much do you save each month?
3) What’s your investing philosophy?
4) What’s your risk tolerance level?
You can learn more about all of these topics and even download a copy of our Money Skills for Newlywed Couples guide by visiting www.IndianaInvestmentWatch.com.