Marriage and Money: Tips for Successful Debt Management
No couple gets married with the intentions of getting divorced in a few years. Unfortunately, as divorce rates have risen to over 60% in America, the odds for the average couple standing at the alter and making eternal vows just isn’t good. One of the major problems responsible for destroying so many marriages? Money.
Money is, as the old saying goes, the root of all evil. Here are a few tips to keep money from wreaking havoc on your married relationship.
Make a Budget and Stick to It
Unless you’re living so far below your means that it isn’t necessary, it is important to sit down with your spouse and tally up what the both of you owe to your creditors every month and compare that to how much income is coming in.
It’s easy to say, “Oh we know how much we spend.” but do you really? Going out to eat, putting gas in the car and stopping for luxury items such as expensive coffee can quickly add up to a big hole in your bank account. Budgeting properly prevents overdrafts and accusations.
Be Honest About Debt
So you went a little overboard shopping. Your spouse will never know…right? Maybe not this time, maybe not next time, but hide enough expenditures from your spouse and before you know it you’ll be secretly in debt. Not only is hidden debt a difficult secret to hide, but it can quickly snowball beyond your control.
At the point, by the time your spouse finds out, you can bet that betrayal is going to be a major issue. Hiding things is, in essence, lying by omission. No one likes to be lied to and although you feel you are protecting your spouse, your spouse may not feel the same way. To some individuals hiding debts is as big a betrayal as infidelity.
- How to Confess Debt Problems to Your Spouse | eHow.com
When you confess debt problems to your spouse that he or she was not previously aware of, you are taking the first step toward absolving your conscience and asking for help.
A strict budget can help keep your marriage safe
Save, save...and then save some more
Too many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Should their hours unexpectedly be cut or their jobs lost, this can have dire consequences such as foreclosures, repossessions and trashed credit. During all of that financial chaos, a person may lose their marriage as well.
Granted, for many people, putting away the eight months of income that Suze Orman recommends having in savings is an impossible prospect. The idea of saving, however, is a smart one.
What if your car breaks down or your roof starts to leak? Sure, you have homeowners insurance, but you probably have a deductible as well. Believe it or not, it’s the little things that can leave a couple deeply in debt by forcing them to purchase goods and services on high interest credit cards (and don’t kid yourself, they’re all high-interest) that they weren’t able to pay for out of pocket.
And then, of course, the inevitable credit card nightmare begins. One thing to consider is perhaps taking all of these steps before walking down the aisle at all. If credit counseling rather than marriage counseling were required prior to marriage, you have to wonder if maybe…just maybe…more marriages would be saved in the long run.