Liberty First Credit Union

For a Happy Marriage, Create a Budget

by Laura Varela / June 15th, 2020


A loss of a job is one of the leading life events that can lead to a divorce, but any money problems can put stress on a marriage.

Learning to communicate with a spouse or partner about money—how it's spent and how it's saved—is one of the most crucial skills for a healthy marriage. 

To determine if your financial picture is a happy one, ask yourself if you can communicate regularly and effectively with your spouse/partner about money. If you find it difficult, ask yourself why. Do you and your spouse handle money differently or do you have different priorities?

Having this conversation with your spouse can be difficult and scary for some. But talking about money openly not only helps couples avoid festering resentments, it can clarify joint financial goals. The first step is to develop a budget that both can agree on and stick to—which means building in some elasticity.

These guidelines can help making budgeting easier and feel less punitive, but they also assume you're doing relatively OK financially and have a steady income. If you're drowning in debt or your income is irregular, increase the amount you put towards paying down debt and decrease the amount set aside for fun. Don’t eliminate the fun money, just make it a lower priority. You’re more likely to stick to a budget when you can enjoy a little of your money guilt-free.

Regardless, sit down with your significant other and talk about money solutions that work for both of you. Don’t let finances ruin a happy marriage. By working as a team, you’ll take this stressor out of the equation and can look forward to many happy years together. 

 

A loss of a job is one of the leading life events that can lead to a divorce, but any money problems can put stress on a marriage.
Learning to communicate with a spouse or partner about money—how it's spent and how it's saved—is one of the most crucial skills for a healthy marriage. 
To determine if your financial picture is a happy one, ask yourself if you can communicate regularly and effectively with your spouse/partner about money. If you find it difficult, ask yourself why. Do you and your spouse handle money differently or do you have different priorities?
Having this conversation with your spouse can be difficult and scary for some. But talking about money openly not only helps couples avoid festering resentments, it can clarify joint financial goals. The first step is to develop a budget that both can agree on and stick to—which means building in some elasticity.
•    Set up a modern envelope system. Online banking platform allow you to open multiple accounts and give them names for the different categories you're budgeting for, like “Vacation” or “Holidays.” This is an update of the tried-and-true method of putting cash in different envelopes earmarked for specific expenses. Having multiple accounts allows you to easily shuttle money back and forth between them;
 
•    Have a "spend on whatever I want" category. In order to avoid arguments, agree on a set amount that each of you get to spend on whatever you want. As long as you're setting aside enough for expenses, savings, and needs, this gives you some financial freedom and avoids arguments over guilty pleasures; and
 
•    Keep the budget minimal. If you're just starting out with a budget, making it as simple as possible will help you stick to it. After deducting taxes and retirement savings from your paycheck, divide the remainder accordingly: 50% to needs (bills and groceries), 30% to wants (clothes, entertainment, etc.), and 20% to saving or paying down debt.
These guidelines can help making budgeting easier and feel less punitive, but they also assume you're doing relatively OK financially and have a steady income. If you're drowning in debt or your income is irregular, increase the amount you put towards paying down debt and decrease the amount set aside for fun. Don’t eliminate the fun money, just make it a lower priority. You’re more likely to stick to a budget when you can enjoy a little of your money guilt-free.
Regardless, sit down with your significant other and talk about money solutions that work for both of you. Don’t let finances ruin a happy marriage. By working as a team, you’ll take this stressor out of the equation and can look forward to many happy years together. 

 



NCUA Equal Housing Lender
Printed Friday, September 25, 2020

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