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Managing Marriage and Money Problems

Experts offer tips for investing in your marriage so you can worry less about your money.

Scenario 2: Love Is Blind

Another common financial problem can occur when a couple is so blinded by love that they spend with no regard for a budget. They take lavish vacations together, buy expensive gifts for each other, or buy a home they can't afford. These expenses serve as a symbol of love for a new spouse, but they also serve to dig a couple deeper into financial turmoil.

"The problem with this scenario is, they eventually run out of money," says Harley.

Once these couples fall into debt, they have something to fight about with both marriage and money problems at play.

In this case, the solution is a smart financial planner who can offer guidance on budgeting, long-term investment goals, and help in getting out of debt, explains Harley.
"A married couple in this scenario needs to wake up and smell reality," says Harley. "They need to understand how much they earn, and how much they can spend, and stop being so ga-ga over the other person that they're overspending."

Scenario 3: When Women Are the Breadwinners

"We live in an age where women are catching up to the men," says Harley. "In almost one-third of dual-income families, it's the woman that's the breadwinner."

While for decades women have fought for pay equality, now that the fairer sex has caught up, many aren't happy with their success.

"In a significant amount of couples I see in my practice where the woman makes more than the man, the woman isn't happy," says Harley. "She feels used, like she is responsible for everything."

It gets even more complicated when a woman goes off to work, and the man stays home as Mr. Mom. Many women aren't happy with this scenario, feeling shortchanged in their roles as mothers even though they're succeeding in their careers, says Harley.

Being a businesswoman -- and wife and mom when the workday is done -- is a heavy load that can create marriage and money problems for everyone involved.

"It's always hard to be the one that is not earning the most money, but it's particularly hard for most men," says Berman, author of the A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids. "Men feel a cultural pressure to earn more money, and it can create issues in both directions -- from the husband to the wife and the wife to the husband -- when the woman is the breadwinner."

In this case, Berman suggests enlisting the help of both a financial planner and a marriage counselor. The couple should also set up equal spending rights, within reason and means, for each person.

"Have a clear-cut budget you both agree on, so everyone has some fun money to spend," says Berman. "If couples create a budget where no one can spend, it's not going to work."

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