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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 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."

More Tips

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 successful.
  • 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 reconnect."
Reviewed on October 03, 2007

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