How to Keep Money Problems From Ruining Your Marriage

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Money problems in your marriage are a serious issue. Arguing about money is one of the top predictors of divorce, according to a 2012 article in the interdisciplinary journal Family Relations. You and your spouse can prevent money issues from destroying your marriage by creating a financial plan, dealing with debt together, discussing spending styles and staying honest about your finances.

Create a Financial Plan

Creating a financial plan with your spouse, including a budget, as soon as possible helps avoid future money problems. Determine your income, then decide how much money you’ll allocate for different categories. Some categories you might want to cover include home and utilities, insurance, groceries, medical bills, entertainment, transportation and expenses related to children. You should also plan investments and an emergency savings account together. Being able to predict how much each of you will spend and save each month will help prevent arguments.

Discuss Debt

One or both parties may come into the marriage with debt or run up debt once married. Regardless of who incurred the debt, it’s important to have a plan to deal with it together. Debt was ranked as the most likely money issue to cause an argument in the article “The Six Financial Mistakes Couples Make,” on KeyBank’s website. Whether you have joint or separate accounts, it’s important to pay off the debt so it doesn’t affect either credit score. Keep in mind, if your marriage ends in divorce, you might still be responsible for that debt even if it wasn't in your name. It’s also important to discuss what kind of debt and how much debt is OK in your marriage.

Discuss Spending Styles

Whether you have the same spending style as your spouse or a different one, it’s important to talk about it and determine what spending is acceptable in your marriage. Financial advisers Scott and Bethany Palmer divide people into five different "money personalities": the spender, the risk taker, the flier, the saver and the security seeker. Your money personality might be different from your spouse’s, but the two of you can still reach a spending compromise that is agreeable to both and prevent problems.

Financial Honesty

An honest attitude about your finances not only prevents arguments over financial infidelity, but maintains the trust in your marriage. One in three adults admitted to committing financial infidelity against their partner at some point according to a 2014 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education. Financial infidelity includes hiding a purchase, a bank account, statement, bill or cash from your spouse or lying about debt or income. Keeping financial secrets from your spouse can ruin your marriage if they’re not handled immediately. One small financial secret can quickly grow to larger secrets.