Share this page
Getting married usually means a commitment to fully share all aspects of your lives together. Not only does this include your future decisions about your careers, but also your families, whether or not to have children, where to live and a multitude of different life choices.
However, the one aspect of marriage which many couples find difficult to bridge is the one about financial responsibility, expectations and goals. Couples are increasingly marrying later in life and both husband and wife may already have an established and independent pattern of earn and spend behaviours.
The main reason for conflict over money can be traced to the different attitudes which a couple might have when it comes to how money should be used, how important it is, and what it represents in terms of values and lifestyle. As a result, if you and your spouse don’t share the same values and attitudes, discussions about money can become very emotional because they are no longer about dollars and cents, but about your lifestyles and goals.
There are 4 key areas where attitudes tend to clash, understanding what they are allows you to identify and address the most important financial topics which you need to discuss with your spouse if you wish to avoid conflicts in the future.
What are your expectations when it comes to your careers? Do you plan to remain as a dual income household? Is one of you expected to stay at home when you have kids? When will you plan to retire? How much money do you feel you need to earn and what types of jobs are you willing to take in order to do so? Does one of you dream of starting a business which might mean that you need to prepare yourselves for some lean years and financial uncertainty?
The question about earning has huge implications on your lifestyle choices, how your household will be run, and how much time you will both spend with your kids. A commitment to earning a significant amount of money usually means that sacrifices will need to be made in terms of time spent with the family. You need to ask if both of you are on the same page on this.
This topic goes straight to the question of priorities. How you spend and what you spend on reflect your priorities in life. Is private education for your children important? Do you wish to indulge your kids or maintain a strict spending regime in order to teach them the value of money? Is driving a brand name car and changing it every 3 years important to you? Do you need to live in private housing or do you have other plans for your money? Are you a spender or a saver?
When people argue over how money is spent, they are also arguing about each other’s priorities. Differing spending habits also are the main cause of “financial infidelity”. This happens when one spouse hides the actual cost or the amount which they may have spent in order to avoid having a difficult conversation with the other. Sometimes the argument isn’t really about how much is spent, but the perception by the “saver” spouse that the “spender” is not as committed to the long term future of the marriage and the wellbeing of the family. Spending is seen as a sign of a lack of responsibility for the future of the family.
Who will keep track of what is spent? Will you even keep track of it? Not having a process to understand how you are performing relative to your financial goals is likely to lead to a nasty surprise one day when the bills arrive and the checks bounce due to financial negligence. This will most certainly lead to a conflict in your marriage!
Make it a point to spend time tracking and reviewing your finances. Even if one of you dislikes the administrative side of this task, make sure that both of you are involved. Having only one of you in charge of all the finances might lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication if the spouse in charge makes risky decisions without realising the implications.
4. Saving and Investing
What are your dreams? How much do you want to save and what will you do with that money? How much do you always want to have in cash or liquid assets to deal with emergencies?
Set financial goals and work towards those together. Decide how much risk you want to take in your portfolio and balance that against how aggressively you want to grow your portfolio.
There are a few ways in which you can make those conversations about money easier and in so doing, reduce the likelihood of conflict due to differing financial attitudes.
Tags: Money Matters /Communication
You spent years caring and focusing on your children. Now that they have grown up and are independent, couples need to plan for their years ahead and ensure their retirement funds are as sustainable as can be.
Bringing up young children is an expensive affair, but mum of two Dawn Cher, more affectionately known as SGBudgetBabe, is determined to pass on the virtue of prudence to her young charges.
Here are some key findings from the FFL Marriage Poll 2016 which was conducted between January and February 2016 to gauge attitudes towards marriage.
Ensuring financial security for your family is not an easy job, especially with the responsibility of child-raising and safeguarding ourselves against emergencies. We invite two experts to advise how couples can work towards securing their future.