Money may not buy happiness but it sure can make you pretty comfortable even in misery. The fact that money plays an important role in other aspects of life is probably the reason many couples fight more on money issues than on some other important issues. For instance, the results of a study by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis revealed that money problems were the cause of 22% of divorces in the U.S. However, financial problems in marriage don’t happen overnight, they are often a cumulative effect of many unattended money worries. This piece seeks to open your mind to five potential fault lines that could cause money problems in marriage.
Most people go into marriage with a certain amount of debt burden – car loans, student loans, and credit cards are some of such loans. However, debt burdens tend to trigger financial conflicts in marriage when one partner has more debts than the other partner. You might want to find ways to pay down debt to improve your credit score whereas your spouse thinks it is better to apply the money towards a down payment on a house. It is important that both parties sit down to assess the debt situation objectively and make proactive decisions after a careful consideration of short and long-term financial goals.
It sounds rather strange that there would be a mention of power play in a home – while a coup is unthinkable, subtle acts of power play could surface if there’s not a dynamic balance in the finances of the home. For instance, if one partner is the sole breadwinner and the other partner is unemployed, there could be a tendency for the person bringing in the money to want to determine the top priorities for family expenses. The same scenario can play out if one partner earns more or has richer parents than the other party.
Everybody has a money personality or mix of money personalities (with one being somewhat dominant). You could be a spender, saver, amasser, hoarder, avoider, or worrier – your money personality dictates your attitude to money and your response to the financial personalities of others. Hence, if you are a saver and your spouse is a spender, you’ll start to detest their financial decisions because it would appear to you that they are always spending money on needless stuff.
Before you got married, you had some bills to pay and now that you are married, you’ll have bigger bills to pay. Many people seem to agree that splitting the bills equally is a smart way to manage the bills – others think that the bills might be split in line with the earning power of each partner. The idea of splitting the bill is to ensure that bills are covered each month while leaving something left over for the couple to make individual purchases. However, splitting the bill is not always the perfect solution because it negates the financial value of the synergy of resources that should come from marriage.
Many couples tend to have big financial arguments on the subject matter of kids starting on whether to have kids or not to have kids – to the number of kids. A report from the Department of Agriculture reveals that the average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is $233,610. In essence, having kids will add to the outflow of funds in the family and couples need to find a way to strike a balance to avoid building up resentments in the heart of either party.