Money Matters in Marriage

Couple Walking
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It does not make any difference if you have the money or if you do not have money. If you and your spouse have different spending habits, different savings goals, different thoughts about investing, or different fears about being poor, then financial problems will eventually surface in your marriage.

It's quite possible that the one making the most money may try to control all the finances. Sometimes a power struggle concerning money will creep into your marriage.​

In her book, Simple Abundance, Sara Ban Breathnach writes, "Like success, money is an emotionally volatile issue for most women. It's probably the most complicated relationship we have—and the one that most controls our lives because we let it."

Common Marital Financial Problems:

  • Overspending
  • Creating too much debt
  • Being on different pages financially
  • Not having a financial plan
  • Not saving enough for retirement
  • Not having an emergency fund
  • Not discussing financial goals

How Many Checking Accounts?

Financial planners generally recommend that individuals in a marriage relationship who have disposable income should each have their own account. They can then save or spend money as they want without having to justify the expenditure or feel guilty about spending the money. However, this concept may not be for every couple. 

In most cases, a joint account is most appropriate. Expenses that usually need to come out of the joint account include household expenses, vehicles, child care and so on. Couples should sit together and create a monthly budget based on income. Having a joint account will keep you both in check, minimize secrets and make you both talk about the finances.

Regardless of what the two of you decide about band accounts, there should never be one person exerting power over the other in respect to money. For, example, the wife should not be going to her husband for her "allowance" or need to ask permission to get her hair done. Each one should also be entitled to an agreed upon "fun money fund" of their own.

There must be trust in this area of the marriage unless there has been financial infidelity or serious overspending.  Both of you should be starting out with faith in each other, particularly if you have been having ongoing conversations about finances. 

Importance of Talking About Finances in Your Marriage

Even though it is difficult sometimes to face into your feelings and thoughts about money, it is imperative that a married couple makes time to discuss their finances and to make decisions together about budgets, short- and long-term goals, and investment strategies. You both need to be as transparent as possible. 

Examine your childhoods and expectations about money. Respect one another's values and find ways to compromise in how you will deal with your financial differences.

Tina B. Tessina says, "Money is one of the biggest generators of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships. Couples argue about spending, saving budgeting, and disparity in earnings. When couples have difficulty with money, it can lead to financial infidelity: out-of-control spending, lying and hiding finances; which can destroy the relationship. Overcoming money problems together and working as a team will strengthen the bond between you, and help you create a healthy, lasting partnership." 

Many couples do have arguments at some point about money. Keep in mind that how you fight, not just what you are fighting about is critical to resolving the issue. You must still fight fair and compromise. 

Financial problems and debt, in particular, can add a huge amount of stress to your marriage. It can suck the romance right out. But, this does not have to be the case. You and your spouse have hopefully discussed financial issues before getting married! If not, it isn't too late to start. 

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