Managing Marriage and Money Problems
Experts offer tips for investing in your marriage so you can worry less about your money.
Scenario 4: Keeping Up With the Joneses
"We are a country that has become accustomed to debt," Berman tells WebMD.
"We judge one another by what we have and don't have, so couples feel pressure
to buy things they can't afford as they keep up with the Joneses."
The stress of owing and debt can cause money problems in your marriage, she
explains. As a couple spends and spends, with no regard for their mounting
debt, it's the marriage that suffers.
"Couples don't tend to fight about the mortgage because that's a choice you
make together," says Berman. "Couples fight about the ancillary goods, like 'I
can't believe you bought those golf clubs.' It's the things you can live
without that you fight about."
Again, financial planning support is key. In the meantime, a couple should
ask themselves why they feel the need to live beyond their income.
"Its important to do some emotional work on yourself to determine why you
care about what other people think, and is it about your own insecurities?"
Berman asks. "And open communication is a must -- it is so important to the
success of overcoming financial trouble."
What are financial fixer-uppers you should keep in mind when managing your
marriage and money problems? Here are more tips from the experts that will help
you keep both above water:
- Do a budget together. Create a budget for both the short and long
term as you build your goals and your dreams together, explains Dave Ramsey,
author of the best-selling book Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for
Financial Fitness. "Budgeting together will create communication in your
marriage," he says.
- Everyone gets a vote. "Both spouses have to give adult-like input
and both spouses have to listen to each other," says Ramsey.
- You have to work together to get out of debt and build wealth. "Two
horses pulling a wagon can pull a huge load up a hill if they work together,"
says Ramsey. "Pulling apart will simply turn the wagon into firewood."
- Have joint accounts. "Having separate bills, debts, incomes, and
lives is not a marriage," Ramsey tells WebMD. You're a team, and you need
to act like one on both the emotional and financial front to be
- Invest in your marriage. "Spend 15 hours a week together, to give
yourself dedicated time to connect, put any issues aside like money, and keep
the romance alive," says Harley.
- Every action has a reaction. "Understand that any action you take in
marriage, including an action related to your finances, has an impact on your
spouse," says Harley. "If you're not conscientious of the effect it has on the
other person, you're living independently -- not married -- and you need to