Money trouble is one of the biggest reasons that couples end up saying, “I’m done,” shortly after they say, “I do.”
If you want to avoid ending up divorce within a few years of your nuptials, it’s important to establish some major rules about money between you and your spouse long before a problem has time to develop.
What big money mistakes do you need to avoid?
1. Hiding your debts
Maybe you’re embarrassed that you have so much credit card debt. Maybe you’re nervous that your student loans will scare off your mate. However, pretending all that debt doesn’t exist won’t make it go away — and you’re depriving your partner of the opportunity to go into the relationship with open eyes. That may come back to haunt you if your spouse starts planning to purchase a house or start a family when you know you’re not financially ready. The sense of betrayal could be huge — and lead straight to a divorce.
2. Hiding some money
This is just as bad as hiding your debts from your other half — and maybe worse. If you hate the idea of your spouse knowing every purchase you make, it’s easier to establish separate bank accounts for “personal” money and a shared account for the household expenses. That way, there’s an expectation of privacy and you won’t violate your spouse’s trust later.
3. Being overly frugal
There are “spenders” and there are “savers,” but a “super-saver” can end up wearing on a spouse’s nerves. If you’re extremely frugal and your spouse isn’t (or the other way around), you may both end up resentful of the situation. Work on a budget that allows for a compromise between your habits.
4. Using money as power
If there’s a big gap between spousal incomes, that can lead to a power imbalance. With the wrong approach, it can also lead to an unhappy marriage — particularly if the spouse with less income feels like the money is used as a tool for control. It’s okay to use an allowance system with your spouse if that works — but don’t aim to control all of his or her spending.
Sometimes, money disputes are actually just a symptom of an unhappy marriage. If that’s true, it may be time for a divorce after all. If the money conflicts seem to be isolated, however, you can often avoid a divorce by simply having some frank conversations with your spouse and making a few changes.