We were recently asked to put together a couples weekend with an emphasis on financial matters in marriage. One of the lies that is told about divorce is that one of the top causes of divorce is financial issues. It is our experience that problems in the marriage cause the financial matters, instead of financial matters causing the marital challenges.
In this two part series we want to share some basic facts about money matters in the marriage relationship. We are not accountants or financial professionals and recommend that you seek professionals in that arena for specific questions about your financial matters. However, based upon our experience in working with couples and our personal experiences, here are some basic marriage money matters for you to consider.
“Ours”, “Mine” and “Theirs”
Most marriage assets and debts are legally “mutual property.” That means that all money is really “ours”. Even if one is making more or is the only income producer, the other spouse is saving money by what they do for the benefit of the family. Their “stay-at-home” is contributing to the family bottom line as child-care and other expenses are saved. Money decisions in a successful marriages are made together!
Who Handles the Account(s)?
In most couples, there is one who is more detail oriented than the other. One of you is probably more “nerdy” – good at keeping track of things and keeping it in its place. One of you is probably more “free-spirited” – easy going and not rushed, mostly unruffled. Neither gets to make all the financial decisions. Financial decisions should be made together with input from both spouses. The one who is more “nerdy” should keep the books!
It is important to have crucial marriage conversations about financial matters with your spouse. We encourage you to set aside time for a financial meeting in order to talk through your financial status and goals. It is just as important to keep discussions about money issues out of date night and other relationship building time. You need time exclusively set aside for both.
“Give and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:38a
We love the budgeting rule proposed by most Christian financial planners. 10% of your budget should be set aside to give. Historically, God’s people gave a tithe, a full 10% of their income, in order to continue God’s work here on earth. The research on giving reveals that givers are happier, no matter the level of wealth. Giving should be a part of the collaborative conversations in every marriage. Christian financial planners encourage an additional 10% of income should be put toward savings. They believe that families should plan to live on 80% of income.
We love to hear from readers. If you and your spouse take care of financial matters well, what other tips do you suggest? If you struggle, what is helpful about this post?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.